BurlingtonGreen maintains city council cheated the public in failing to even consider a private tree bylaw.

By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON – July 11th, 2013. BurlingtonGreen is dismayed to report that the majority of city council voted on July 8th to take a pass at learning more about a private tree protection by-law for our city.

 At the onset of the meeting, council members clearly stated that no decision would be made until the fall because controversial issues are not dealt with during the summer when so many citizens are unable to participate and provide input. Although the Mayor stated “no decision will be made” in a news bulletin he sent out to the public on July 5th, after a few hours of delegations and discussions, Committee Council proceeded with a 5 to 2 vote that essentially “killed” the opportunity to explore options regarding a private property tree by-law for Burlington. Only Mayor Goldring supported Councillor Marianne Meed-Ward’s motion that would have kept the issue alive for a fall discussion and vote.

Burlington Green believed the city was going to take a serious look at a Private Tree bylaw; one that would allow for plenty of exemptions and respecting individual property rights but at the same time protecting everyone from irresponsible people. That didn’t happen last Monday. Maybe next Monday – this battle isn’t over yet. The crime say the BurlingtonGreen people is that it is a battle at all.

 Results of the City’s recent feasibility study on the issue revealed the majority of Burlington residents believe more needs to be done by the city to protect trees and would comply with a practical by-law. BurlingtonGreen is concerned and disappointed that city staff provided a recommendation to Council to not support a private tree by-law as their understanding was that staff was to report back on the feasibility study findings only.

 There is controversy on the issue in large part due to a misinformation of the facts. Residents from Oakville shared their experience and how their tree by-law is not onerous to the homeowner and does allow for the removal of trees for reasonable purposes. The by-law is supported by their Town’s Council as they recognize that a key purpose of the by-law is to prevent developers from removing property trees before they apply for a building permit. BurlingtonGreen expects that more trees will be threatened in Burlington due to increasing infill development where developers are looking to remove mature trees in order to build larger homes on existing properties.

 Burlington’s Urban Forest Management Plan that was earlier endorsed by Council states that “Protecting existing trees, particularly larger specimens, prior to and during construction has been shown to be more effective in sustaining the provision of urban forest benefits than planting new trees.” “This further exemplifies what we believe to be a contradiction of what was conveyed by staff and the results that transpired on July 8 at City Hall”, said Mr. Brock.

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2 comments to BurlingtonGreen maintains city council cheated the public in failing to even consider a private tree bylaw.

  • Chris Ariens

    Any private tree bylaw needs to prevent this from happening.

    Oakville’s obviously didn’t.

    I’d be willing to allow the homeowner to do what they want with trees on their property that are not part of the streetscape, provided that whatever law is enacted is tough on developers who don’t want to keep mature trees that make the construction process a little bit less efficient.

  • Teresa Gozdzikowska

    I would like participate in meeting , please sent me any info.
    I agree this is one of the main issues re private.. property.
    I pay taxes for my property and is my decision which tree I like to grow on my backyard or in a front of my house. Also questioned who is going to be responsible for possible accident ie. if tree fall on my home during the havy rain or thunderstorm ??? Will insurance cover all repair cost ???
    Instead of decisions behind my back I will accept some regulations for max size of tree for new homes where properties are small and close to each other. Thanks