THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
Pages of Special Interest;
Other Table of Contents;
Comments added Oct. 1/01 as the City is set to change the by-law.
A public meeting will be held Oct. 3 - 2001 7 pm, at City hall.
The City has a whole set of changes and could even
If you would like more information or to get your name on the list to speak
Dec. 5/01. There appears to be a survey that you can ask for.
Down to business, what are the details of interest?
It is noted that this tree By-law should be City wide but that alone means it will likely not be supported by most of City Council.
City staff made it clear that this by-law would not interfere with development and the by-law is being changed to make it even more so. It is also increasing the rates from $35 to $200 for persons removing trees that are not dead, dying or hazardous. Still $35 for trees that are dead, dying or hazardous. People were upset over $35 they are very upset over the increases. On top of this cost, a person has to hire an Arborist to write a report about their tree(s) and they are not cheap. Many people complained about how hard City staff made it for them to get permits.
City staff claimed the Tree By-Law was written so it didn't discriminate between developers and normal home owners. But the Tree By-law clearly spells out that certain properties like nurseries and golf courses are not covered as well as the City, Peel Region and "any other government authority or utility corporation". This allows the hydro corridor to be clear cut for development. One gentleman stood up and noted a tree By-Law in another county that did in fact cover government trees, maybe the City should follow that model. They were also noted as having a 2:1 replacement planting for trees cut down.
The size of the tree that can be cut has increased from tress with a diameter between 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm), needing a permit to 20 inches or 50 cm. The number of trees you can cut is also in the mix. A class "B" permit allows for 5 or more trees 8 inches (20 cm). I am not going into details here. None the less by increasing the size of tree so much this means most trees will not be covered. An important decision was made, that being, this Tree By-Law doesn't take into consideration the kind of trees that is being measured. Many trees will never get to be 20 inches across. In fact the City admits this will cut down greatly on people needing to get permits (about 12 per-year), and 99% will be developers. The City doesn't suggest how many people decided not to cut down a tree as it would be too much bother.
I noted there is no City plan for greening the community. That is to say how much and how many trees or other large plants should be in an area to gain what benefits. When it comes time to negotiate with the land owner who wants to clear cut their property it would be helpful if there was a plan for that community to show a certain percentage of community should be home to trees and hedges. That provide a benefit to the whole community. I noted that if a people were going to plant replacement trees for the ones that are cut down, on a different part of their property then they should get a deal or no cost. An idea that the Councilor generally agreed with. This is where an over all plan comes in, after all, the concern is the slow loss of green in a community with no reasonable replacement.
Educating the public;
To follow up on this, City by-laws are there to protect the whole community, from the value of your home to your own safety. Using the City's by-laws as just a guide they show how we try and protect, what we are becoming aware of, as elements of the community that are valuable to the whole community. In this case trees increases property values and protect our health. Unfortunately their efforts don't jump right out at the persons who see little beyond what they want. Those in the community who will take all the benefits from living in our City (with its rules), but none of the personal responsibilities to keep it a wonderful place to live in. And yes they are a loud lot.
The City does have a list of the benefits from trees but it doesn't go into details and doesn't use dollar figures that would impress the many who just don't get it.
I noted the City should not charge for trees that need to be removals they are dead, dying or hazardous. After all there is a by-law saying these tree need to be cut down due to safety concerns. The Ward 1 Councillor did note that it was the Mayor who insisted that there had to be a fee for dead, dying or hazardous trees permits. Sounds like she wanted to upset people as it was known at that time getting a permit for trees that had to come down or were coming down on their own, was what many complained about.
Most people agreed that developers should be ,mostly impacted by this by-law but remember our Mayor is the Queen of development, so that is not going to happen. Even if it is reasonable.
The Councillor also had a straw vote for the recommendations or not. I suggested that vote on keeping it the same and was a lone supporter of that. In regards to the vote the Mayor has said the City doesn't do them. The vote was not noted ahead of time, as more people would have come out for that. The Ward 1 Councillor noted many Ratepayers groups were at the meeting but not the Cawthra Ratepayers' and Residents' Association.
City staff said they never refuse a permit, as only City Council can do that, instead they refund the money so you have no permit for the work and therefore can be fined.
Some good examples of why a Tree By-law was needed, that were noted at the meeting. First time land owners and new comers who cut down trees for a garden then decide a garden is too much work. People who move in, cut down trees and move out in a year or two. People who move into a treed community and don't want to do the work a tree calls for. Most people who were pro-tree made it clear that if you want to live on property with few to no trees, buy property in an area with few to no trees. Don't cut down your trees and still enjoy the benefits of your neighbours trees. Some people wanted this to be put on a ballot.
There are many other things to say but this is all I can right now.
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