Bylaw is the wrong way to go

Bylaw that would force residents to top trees draws opposition

I was quite disappointed to read that Coldstream is considering passing a bylaw to force property owners on Middleton Mountain to top their trees or face a fine.

The great majority of municipalities these days are taking measures to protect trees in recognition of the environmental and aesthetic benefits that trees offer to a community.

There are many recent scientific studies that quantify the millions of dollars that trees can save taxpayers in terms of reducing storm water runoff, reducing energy use through shade and windbreaks, enhancing property values, removing carbon and air pollutants from the air and providing wildlife habitat.

In the absence of trees, for example, municipalities can face higher costs for infrastructure needed to intercept drainage off hillsides, which can result in increased pollutants ending up in our lakes.

What about improving the views of the rest of the community and tourists who have to look at the Middleton Mountain development which is quite bare and stark?

It’s not surprising that Mr. Fridrik’s previous efforts to top a tree to improve his view didn’t work.

Topping trees is unsightly and the trees react by quickly sending up lots of weak sprouts.

This introduces decay into the tree and can make the tree dangerous (try Googling tree topping hazards) and is only a short-term solution.

A better solution is to hire a certified arborist to prune branches out of the canopy and create “windows” to improve views.

Offering incentives for smaller trees might be a partial solution but these trees don’t provide shade or very many environmental benefits.

A new bylaw that forces private property owners to top or remove their trees will not only be unpopular politically, it will get Coldstream involved in many neighbour disputes with a high cost of administration.

K. Wilson