LETTER: The loss of Mission’s beautiful tree canopy

Tree cutting before development approval has occurred on environmentally sensitive Silvermere island

I completely agree with the concerns raised by Jeanette Smith over the rapid loss of Mission’s beautiful tree canopy.

Large clear cuts can be seen all over Mission including on Nelson and on Wilson street which was recently logged and is now up for sale.

Tree cutting before development approval has even occurred on environmentally sensitive Silvermere island, close to nesting eagles during a very critical time for these birds. This rampant cutting of our community’s trees is unfortunate, as proximity to trees has proven mental and physical health benefits, increases property values, and raises the quality of life of citizens.

Trees and forested areas provide important habitat for birds and wildlife, and shade for amphibians and fish. Destruction of forested areas for development prior to public engagement, proper environmental assessment, and development permits, risks harming Mission’s listed and endangered species.

We urge staff and council to begin mapping our tree canopy and adopt a comprehensive and enforceable tree protection bylaw as recommended in our new Official Community Plan.

The fact that most communities in the Fraser Valley have tree bylaws proves that adopting one will not stop development. Tree bylaws are a basic and fundamental planning tool, necessary for any community professing to develop in a responsible manner.

Mission is bestowed with superior natural beauty. Ironically it is the abundance of our trees that may lead some to take them for granted. However the time to protect trees and sensitive habitat is while they still exist. Council needs to act now if we are to safeguard Mission’s environmental heritage and protect our trees.

Tracy Lyster

Mission

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