Immediately adopt a Tree Protection Bylaw in the Township of Langley

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In the past, the Township of Langley has supported the protection of our natural environment and natural assets. In 2008, the Township of Langley adopted the Sustainability Charter which was to "build a legacy for future generations by leading and committing the community to a lifestyle that is socially, culturally, economically, and environmentally balanced."

Since that time, our community has loss tens of thousands of trees in our urban environment as we continue to develop with a "carte blanche" mentality towards urban trees. In the first 3 months of 2019, Council has been asked to consider approving the annihilation of 975 significant trees in Willoughby and another 39 in Walnut Grove for 1301 new homes. The replacement tree numbers proposed are not even equal to this.

The benefits of an urban tree canopy are numerous. Countless studies have shown that trees among our urban neighbourhoods promote healthy living and positive urban livability. Best selling author and master city planner Jeff Specks states, "In addition to offering shade, they reduce ambient temperatures in hot weather, absorb rainwater, and tailpipe emissions, provide UV protection, and limit the effects of wind." He goes on to further argue that trees encourage slower traffic and more walkable neighbourhoods ("Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step At a Time", 2012).

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations further states: “Trees play an important role in increasing urban biodiversity, providing plants and animals with a favourable habitat, food and protection. ... Especially in cities with high levels of pollution, trees can improve air quality, making cities healthier places to live in.”

Development in the Willoughby neighbourhood has been openly hostile towards tree protection, with at least one sitting Township of Langley Councillor even explicitly stating that you cannot have both trees and townhomes. Yet all of our neighbouring communities have Tree Protection Bylaws for their urban environments. Even the Township of Langley enacted the "Brookswood-Fernridge Tree Protection Bylaw" in 2017. This shows a blatant double standard between communities within the Township of Langley, especially following the adoption of the Brookswood-Fernridge Official Community Plan in 2018. 

Therefore, we the undersigned request the following:

1) that a"Tree Protection Bylaw" be IMMEDIATELY expanded throughout the Township of Langley, with the exception of properties governed by the Agricultural Land Reserve. 

2) that an comprehensive Tree Canopy & Environmental Protection Strategy be undertaken without haste to assist and supplant the aforementioned bylaw to better promote sustainable urban development in the Township of Langley