Letter: Don't blame Burnaby for trees being stripped - blame Victoria

Editor:

Re: This Burnaby property was stripped of its trees - wildlife be damned, NOW letters, March 31

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If anyone is to blame for property owners acting on what is permitted for their lands, then look towards Victoria. If consultation is desired at the construction stage when houses are actually built, then again Victoria must make this change. If trees are to be permanently preserved, then Victoria must make that law, too.

Burnaby cannot make up its own land-use laws. Victoria pretty much decides everything. 

So all Burnaby really gets to decide is how to implement what the Lieutenant-Governor, that is Cabinet, decides is right for the province. And in the case of a subdivision, city council is not given any authority over this process – someone called the Approving Officer, who happens to work for the city, must make this decision. The subdivision is then reviewed by provincial officials before the new lands become part of the Land Registry system. Oh, did I mention, the Approving Officer must make the subdivision decision independently of any council interference.

A smart move by the province that avoids political outcomes creeping into what should be strictly a technical process of making sure lands are accessible and do not undermine the neighbours’ rights to use their lands too.

The real question here is did the concerned letter author ask when did the rezoning happen for this property? This is when neighbours and anyone else can engage city council, let their views be known, encourage others to advocate for the desired land-use outcome. Another relevant question does this author pay attention to the public hearing notices that are routinely, and by provincial law, required to be published in this very newspaper?

So if you are so concerned, then go to council at public hearing, stamp your feet and demand a better outcome, if that is your view. But if the author has not done any of these things, then yes, go ahead and vote with your feet. Preferably, go to another province as obviously the land development process everyone else in B.C. is required to follow is not good enough for you.

Joe Sulmona, North Burnaby

Editor’s note: The six single-family homes referred to in the original letter to the editor actually conformed to the lot’s existing zoning – meaning there was no rezoning process that would have included a public hearing where neighbours, like the original letter writer, could have expressed their concerns. Read our original story on this project by clicking here.

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