Calls are being made again for North Cowichan to develop a tree-protection bylaw.
Cynthia Montgomery will appear before council at its meeting on April 17 to present a petition with more than 500 signatures asking the municipality for a bylaw that would protect large and healthy trees in North Cowichan.
In a letter to council, Montgomery said the petition is not about protecting all trees and it is not intended to interfere with development.
“Neither does it present criteria for determining which trees are to be protected,” she said.
“I would leave that to council, perhaps in consultation with the many municipalities that have similar bylaws.”
Montgomery said many property owners in the municipality want protection of the large and healthy trees on or near their properties to increase livability, mitigate flooding, and for the fact that healthy-tree windbreaks impact property values.
“The prevention of erosion and landslides is especially important to consider in our area, where much housing is on hillsides and not sited on bedrock,” she said.
“This danger is dramatically illustrated by some disastrous events that have happened near our region because of developments built on or under clear cuts.”
Montgomery said that, as part of her presentation to council on Wednesday, she will provide a visual of a development on Whidbey Island, north of Seattle, which is built on a clear cut hillside and is slowly sliding down to the beach.
She said she will also present before-and-after aerial photos of a large landslide in Oso, WA, that killed 49 people in their homes, in which it can be seen that a forested portion of the hillside had been recently clear cut just above the destruction.
“I want to emphasize that this petition is not against development,” Montgomery said.
“Instead, it’s about asking developers to become even more creative rather than endlessly employing the same tired templates, so tediously repeated across North America, that was commonly done only 10 or 20 years ago. This bylaw would also impact private property owners, and some will say that no one can tell a property owner what they must or must not do on their own land. And yet, we do place such restrictions on unsightly or noisy properties because they devalue their neighbourhoods.”
It’s not the first time a delegation appeared before council asking that a tree protection bylaw be established in North Cowichan.
Last year, Jan Scott appeared before council, also armed with a petition, stating that she and those that signed the petition are concerned about the number of trees that are being cut down indiscriminately by developers and others in the municipality when building their projects.
“North Cowichan needs fines and other punishments to make developers and others who take down these trees responsible,” Scott said at the time.