You can’t see the animals for the trees

Does Mayor Watts or her council colleagues even know how many wild creatures will be sentenced to death when the bulldozers move in?

Re: “417 trees to be axed to make way for South Surrey development,” The Leader, Sept. 18.

According to The Leader, Surrey council’s decision to eradicate a large forested area on 20 Avenue “all depends on the make-up of the trees.”

Mayor Watts dismissively made reference to the “scrub trees” in that location, as did the developer.

Well folks, I’ve said this before and I will continue to say it until somebody listens: It’s not about the trees.

It’s about the wildlife that inhabit our forested areas – creatures that survive in what we call “scrub,” ranging from birds, to squirrels, to raccoons, to “prey” animals like field mice and voles, to coyotes, and yes, even to deer.

It has nothing to do with whether or not the trees are attractive or valuable to humans.

Those “scrub” trees have incalculable value to wildlife.

Does Mayor Watts or her council colleagues even know how many wild creatures, or of what type, will be sentenced to death when the bulldozers move in?

Do they care? Has an inventory been done? If not, why not?

Perhaps council members should be required to stand along the edge of this property and watch wild creatures run or fly for their lives when the machinery gets going.

The City of Surrey tries to make a big deal about its protection of salmon streams and riparian areas… great, but they are required by provincial and federal legislation to do that. The city also trumpets its parks, but groomed parks are no substitute for wildlife habitat. And how many creatures do they think an “urban forest” like Green Timbers will accommodate – all of them?

When will they start to pay some attention to real wildlife habitat – like a stand of 417 trees in South Surrey, or the trees on Bose Farm, or… ?

Until they do, I have a word of warning for anyone who lives in an old house or neighbourhood in Surrey: Beware those who casually dismiss “scrub trees.”

Before you know it, they will looking to see if your “habitat” lives up to their standards.

If not, listen for the bulldozers and get ready to run… somewhere.


David Hathaway, Surrey

Surrey North Delta Leader

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