Large old trees deserve to be protected outside Brookswood, according to a Langley Township couple who live in a rural area near Aldergrove and were unhappy to discover two towering evergreens have been cut down in their neighbourhood.
Jim Davis said the trees, around the corner from their house in the area of 240 Street and 63 Avenue, were the tallest on the block, several times the height of subdivision homes in their shadow.
“You can’t put your arm around [those trees],” Davis said.
“You don’t grow them overnight.”
Loraine Davis said she knew the trees well because she grew up on the farm where they were planted, which has now become a residential development.
Davis said her parents were told the trees were a kind of unofficial war memorial, planted some time after the First World War, but they were never able to learn more and the site does not appear to have been registered.
On Tuesday (April 29), when Davis visited the location with a Times reporter, a crew was chopping a thick tree trunk into firewood and grinding down a stump below ground level.
“To me, it’s stupidity,” Davis said.
“The beauty of the municipality is green-ness.”
When he called the Township, Davis said he was told the municipality had no power to regulate tree-cutting because the area was within the provincial Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and under the authority of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), not the Township.
However, a Times examination of an online ALC map appears to show the property in question is just outside the ALR.
Davis said he supports some form of tree protection regulation that would protect older, larger trees, one that would allow property owners to cut down smaller “scrub trees” without a permit.
He thinks the Township should extend its just-approved interim ban on clear-cutting in Brookswood to include the rest of the Langley.
“It should be the whole bloody district,” Davis said.
There was no response to a Times call to the listed phone number for the house where the tree cutting had been carried out. However, neighbour Maaike Wansink wrote in a letter to the editor that the trees were actually dead before they were cut down. She said she was told they died because of drainage ditch requirements the Township insisted on.