Monday, March 27, 2006

Vecchiato's Voice - March 26, 2006 - Large Scale Tree removal Affects Neighbour - Who's Liable?

Information follows on the Victim Offender Mediation Program, whereby disputes can be taken here instead of court. The current dilemma is another clearing in Brookswood (reported in Langley Times), whereby an absentee landlord on 202 Street purchased a property and hired Fraser Valley Tree Service to remove every tree on the lot. The number was approximately 40-60 trees. A resident on 201A and 39th had an arborist visit, who said that removal of stumps and roots on the cleared property will affect five neighboring properties. Root removal will collapse one neighbor's septic field; the trees on the other properties will have to come down, not to mention the huge potential for windthrow. We are now getting into legal channels where responsibility must be assigned. The bylaw I had submitted to Council in 2002 had prevented clearcutting, for the mere fact of windthrow; the damage clearing can do on neighboring properties is more serious than that.

So who is liable? The offending property owner? Definitely. Township, for failing enforcement? They can, at some point, be held liable for not showing due diligence in protecting nesting birds, which violates both federal and provincial laws. Consider a case in Richmond, whereby the city was found guilty of passing inspection on leaky condos and not upholding the provincial guidelines for building inspections.

The local office of Victim Offer Reconciliation Program is 20678 Eastleigh Crescent, 534-5515. Township has put all of us in a situations of bad neighbor relationships, not having enforcement, thus living residents in dangerous confrontation, and ultimately, allowing such a loose rein that behaviour severely affects neighbors. Private property is one thing; activities that affect neighbors is a bigger picture.

I ask each councilor, who, as a candidate, said he/she would support a tree by law (it was everyone save three candidates who are in office), thus leaving a majority of elected individuals who said they would support a bylaw. I will send councillors a copy of the draft tree bylaw, which should include not clearing within twelve feet of a fence line.

Cathleen Vecchiato 604-533-0173

See the link here as well.
For more information on the Court Mediation Program and/or the mediation process, please contact our office at:
Phone: 604-684-1300; Fax: 604-684-1306;
Outside the Lower Mainland, call toll-free: 1-877-656-1300
Mailing address:
Court Mediation Program
Suite 177-800 Hornby StreetVancouver,
B.C.V6Z 2C5

Cathleen Vecchiato has been an outspoken environmentalist for the past 5-1/2 years. She is a very well recognized champion of the environment and a community activist in Langley as well as in other adjoining communities. Cathleen formed and leads the Langley Conservation Network. Editor-LFP

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