Q15. Our ravine is a Restricted Covenant area. What does that mean?
A15. First a bit of history. (Source: Coventry Woods Nov. 2006 Newsletter)
Our 2005-06 Council President, Carol Millar, arranged a meeting October 4, 2006 with management staff from two departments of the Township of Langley, in order for council to get clarification as to who is responsible for our tributary creek conservation area; the protocol required to remove dangerous trees; to do clean-up as required; who should be allowed access; liabilities of Strata in the event of violations to the environment, and so that we may know who to contact regarding these areas of concern. Council met with two gentlemen from the Water Resources & Environmental Dept. and two from the Parks & Development Dept-Community Division.We dont want to burden you with too much information, however, we believe this is something everyone should know about, especially future council members.
On a Satellite photo, they pointed out that our un-named tributary creek and ravine running through Coventry Woods is the fenced Restrictive Covenant (R.C.) area from 216 St to the East Munday Trail Bridge at 91 Ave. They gave us a copy of the executed Land Title Act Agreement dated October 27, 1994 which established this covenant between Pennyfarthing Development (Walnut Grove) Corp. and the Ministry of the Environment, Lands and Parks.
For complete details of the agreements made regarding the conservation of this area, one needs to read the said document which is stored in Council’s files and with our Property Manager. In summary, it is Coventry Woods’ responsibility to maintain the area in its natural state, leaving it undisturbed, i.e.:
- no structures, landfill, land clearing or other disturbance.
- do not cut down, trim any trees, shrubs or alter any form of plant life.
- ensure that silt, leachate or any other deleterious substances do not fall into the area via ditches, storm sewers, or from overland flow.
- the Covenantor ( Pennyfarthing) had to construct a chain link fence 1.2 m in height and posted with visible metal signs indicating the area is “protected by Section 215 covenant, for preservation of sensitive fish and wildlife habitat”. Pedestrian gate access is permitted provided the gateway is no more than 60cm ( 24 inches) in width. ( We have about 4 such gates – see Note 3 below)
Note 1: The agreement does not mention anything about adding plants in the area, however, since that would be altering the area, approval would have to be obtained from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Ministry of Environment be so advised.
Note 2: The fence is to be maintained by Coventry Woods. Any costs associated with the Covenant area are Coventry Woods’ to pay. Although the Township has paid for removal of trees in the past, they now advise this was in error, due to their staff being unfamiliar with our Covenant situation. They had paid for the Land Title search to be able to advise Council and Township staff of the facts.
Note 3: The gates are for the use of arborists, tree trimmers and inspectors, and are not there to be an extension of the limited common property of owners, or for recreation. Strata is liable at all times for any violation of DFO. The gates will be keyed and the keys kept in the possession of our Caretaker.
The Township staff expanded on the do’s and don'ts such as:
Blackberries- Since this is a non-native shrub to the area we may remove them from the Covenant area after Council first getting approval.
Unsafe trees – Council is to call an arborist for advice (we pay), and if trimming or removal is required, we have to get approval before hiring someone to cut them down.
Adding native plants - No plants should be introduced to the area unless an approval in writing is obtained from Council, who would have requested permission from the appropriate dept. at DFO.
Throwing back leaves and branches which came from the area – is allowed, but not from the gutters due to chemicals coming off the roof. The same goes for the East Munday Creek Trail area.
We need approval to do anything inside the Covenant area. There are two steps to do this.
1) Because the cutting down of a tree may remove shade important to the stream, Council will need to first get approval from the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
2) Then Council has to notify the Ministry of the Environment of our approved work plans. (They do not approve our requests as originally believed, but do want to be notified before we go ahead)