It’s the busiest time of the year for a Metchosin-based tree services company, as the scrutiny on tree-cutting operations surges.
Ryan Smith, owner of Ocean West Tree Services, said they’ve faced some protesters at multiple job sites, including at the pagoda house job – which is slated for demolition despite a contingent of residents crying for it to be preserved – although he’s not had any bad interactions.
“One minute they’ll come over superheated,” he said. “Then a couple of minutes later, we’ve talked to them, and then usually, they’re asking for firewood. We’ve given away four or five truckloads from this job. It’s a small price to pay for us, we just like to make sure everyone’s happy if anyone has concerns.”
A lot of the work the company does is on residential properties or with the Capital Regional District’s fire smart program. Smith said they’re fully booked for the next year, with things set to be particularly busy for the next few weeks as a number of projects in Langford look to complete work before a tree protection bylaw potentially comes before council.
But amid that rush, Smith has been pushing to ensure the wood from trees that come down stays local. Some of the trees from the pagoda house project, for instance, are set to be turned into furniture.
“I personally love trees. That’s why we try and salvage the wood,” he said. “It takes a little longer. But like, we’ve been doing this for years, and now we have enough contacts, we’re able to call up and have found the wood a permanent home within minutes.
Langford’s new council is set to be a stark departure from the previous one, with slowing down development top of the agenda, with new Mayor Scott Goodmanson saying a tree protection bylaw was one of his priorities coming into the role.
Prior to this, trees have mainly been protected through the development permit process. Langford director of planning Matthew Baldwin told Black Press Media in a previous interview that the policies have historically resulted in up to 40 per cent being reserved for green space.