How many times in the recent past have we read headlines similar to “City probes tree clearcut” (The Leader, Sept. 13)? We’ll continue to read them in the future unless the mayor and councillors put some bite into their bark.
Why would these type of developers care about breaking rules and regulations when they know that the very worst that will happen is they might receive a slight penalty or be asked to replant some genetically engineered saplings to replace native old growth? It’s just a cost of doing business to them and they know they can greatly increase their profit margins by blatantly breaking the rules.
Let’s hope Mayor Watts and the councillors can create enough of a penalty to take all the profits out of this developer’s project and make sure that that party is not able to work in Surrey again. That would certainly get the attention of developers on future projects.
Don Povarchook, Surrey
What is the point of unenforced bylaws?
Re: “City probes tree clearcut.”
After reading this article I felt such a mixture of anger and despair, I felt ill.
I am sick to death of reading similar stories about Surrey. This lack of enforcement makes a mockery of Surrey bylaws on both suites and trees.
I can remember local politicians positively trumpeting the new tree bylaw. Time has shown the truth of the matter: political will is lacking with both suites and trees.
So I ask you, what is the point of having tree bylaws when they are not adequately enforced, except as an aftermath? My neighbour recently took down all the trees in his yard, with a permit. However the permit was only for certain trees, nevertheless they are all gone. No one from Surrey City Hall seemed to notice or care.
An employee of the bylaw department said that if someone wants to take down trees and is required to put more trees in as a condition of getting their permit, they will not get their permit fees back if the trees are not planted. So some people simply do exactly that. They take down the trees and accept that not getting the permit fee returned will be “the cost of doing business” if they really don’t want trees on their property. This happens a lot, the employee said. So where are the bylaw’s teeth?
I’ve been all over Surrey. There aren’t that many places where 39 trees still stand together. Why doesn’t Surrey’s bylaw department send someone out to oversee the cutting down of anything over 12 trees? The bylaw could be amended so that the permit stated on it that a bylaw representative must be present at time of cutting of over 12 trees.
I wonder as well why trees that are allowed to be taken down by permit are not required to be well tagged with paint or plastic ties? Maybe then this kind of devastation could be avoided.
In these days of global warming, every tree is precious. They clean our air, hold the soil against erosion, store water, provide shade and much-needed homes for the declining song bird population, and they beautify the land. We need to wake up fast. The trees on people’s properties are no longer just theirs to do with as they please …they are communal trees because they are performing their function for everyone’s benefit. And it’s in everyone’s interest to stop global warming, even developers’.
P. Grover, Surrey
Surrey has lost control
The rampant disregard of Surrey’s bylaws will never be changed unless the city finally takes control and enforces all the bylaws.
The tree cutting is right up there with the illegal multiple suites and uninspected suites issues. The city has lost control. The thing they have really lost is the fact it’s a safety issue, not just the burden on the infrastructure for roads, garbage, sewers and schools. Safety is the number-one issue here.
There is no accountability anymore. Pass the buck. The city is responsible for inspections and to make sure the houses built, along with renovations, are done to the building code. Structural, electrical, gas and plumbing are to be inspected. The fire department has a responsibility here too.
The air quality in our city is going to get worse when there are no large parks of trees. This contractor should be fined $1,000,000 per tree cut down in the park and other fines and levies for every tree over the limit. This is prudent. Those mature trees helped our air quality and the quality of life for all of Surrey’s citizens.
Mayor Watts and council have to use the full power of the city to rectify the problems this city has. Time is up.
Paul Fitzgerald, Cloverdale
Surrey has lost control
Re: “City probes tree clearcut.”
It is typical of developers like this – when you give them an inch, they take a mile .
Some people presume they can do whatever they want. My question to you , Mr. Developer, is do you care about the future of your children? Massive rainforests are disappearing and trees everywhere are being destroyed. Without trees, do you think we can survive?
This world is has less and less oxygen. Trees are the lungs of the Earth. Mankind seems to be hell bent on destroying Mother Nature .
All I see is greed and more greed. It is hypocritical to tell me to go green while these things are happening.
I hope that the mayor goes all the way with what she says.
Time to stand up against this and many other illegal activities done by developers.
D . Krotzek, Surrey
No cause for celebration
Mayor Watts states, “She’s tired of seeing people play fast and loose with Surrey’s bylaws.”
Did she not have her cornflakes that day, or does this mean finally something will be done about illegal suites, illegal watering, and parking and home improvements without permits?
Surrey will then have proper tax revenue, and therefore provide better services such as roads, schools and garbage services.
I’ll hold off celebrating until I see what the “significant fines, a significant mitigation package and stop work order” are in relation to this clearcut and when all bylaws are enforced.
George Magill, Surrey