LETTER: Saanich confused about its trees

Tree protection bylaw requiring permits for tree removal will be a burden on elderly and poor

Re: Tree tally leads to new rules (News, July 9)

Saanich’s tree removal restrictions act against human life while not achieving the ends that environmentalist politicians want.

For example, why is Western red cedar protected but Himalayan cedar not? (Using the list in your August 22, 2014 issue. Western red “cedar”, a member of the Cypress/Juniper family, is common here whereas Himalayan “cedar”, in the Larch branch of the Pine family, is not. (Himalayan cedar is a large tree that looks like Western hemlock from a distance, it’s closely related to Lebanon cedar.)

Having to get a permit especially burdens elderly and poor people struggling to stay in their homes while at risk of a tree puncturing their roof in a wet winter night.

Saanich’s restrictions work against planting trees near houses, because they will be a future burden to the property owner including the cost of necessary removal for either the planting property owner or a subsequent owner who may not want to pay as much due to assuming that cost.

Saanich’s restrictions smell like another do-gooder scheme by people who have the negative view of humans that comes from Marxist teachings. They act as though they’ve never looked outside and seen that people plant trees which grow, and that many break apart due structural deficiency or rot, or die due to disease or old age. (Indeed, it is known in Saanich that one type of tree breaks in calm summer heat.)

Meanwhile Saanich’s bureaucracy can’t even get tree selection right – they’ve planted a large species in narrow strips of grass along the recently rebuilt part of Admirals Road.

Voters should ask questions this fall.

Keith Sketchley

Saanich