Long long debates - strong differences of opinion - but council voted to create a Private Tree Bylaw on a 5-2 vote.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

December 17th, 2019



They did it.

City Council passed a private tree bylaw during debates that got close to rancorous.

A number of items that are to be in the bylaw that will become effective April 1st, 2020 were deferred to a meeting in January.

There were 12 amendments put forward by Councillor Sharman – Bentivegna seconded the amendments.

The vote was 5-2 for with Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna opposed.

Trees Pine street

The tree was cut down to make way for a development – nothing has replaced it.

Tree Guelph line close up -no name

A Private Tree bylaw would have saved this tree or put some serious cash in city coffers if it had been cut down. There was no bylaw in place at the time this tree came down.

There is a lot that has to be adjusted before this bylaw will actually work.

Mayor Meed Ward was challenged twice on rulings she made as Chair of the Council meeting.

There were a number of delegations, two that brought solid information to the discussion.

The decision is historic for the city – will it bring about the results that this council wants?  Only time will tell.

The fear amongst some is that residents will begin cutting down trees to ensure that they don’t find themselves needing permits to cut down trees – permits that could cost tens of thousands.

This is a controversial bylaw – it is going to take some very deft management on the part of the Forestry department to convince people that there is a better solution than cutting down a perfectly good tree just because, as one resident put it, “it had become a nuisance”.

This by-law has the potential to come back and bite the city, this council and the Mayor.


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10 comments to Long long debates – strong differences of opinion – but council voted to create a Private Tree Bylaw on a 5-2 vote.

  • Alfred

    Anne and Dave, Do you support a tree by-law in the rural area or not? Or something in between? I’m having diffuclty understanding your overall position on a City wide by-law. My choice would be to have none in the City urban or rural. To me a tree has the same importance if it be in Roseland or on a farm. Your thoughts? My reference to farmers and builders was to suggest we need them both and not to burden them with additional costs. I also have no problem with planting lot’s of trees.

    • Alfred while we believe in protecting our trees, we do not think Burlington has got it right by any means. We live just past the corner of Brant and Ghent and the land next to us is up for development. The developer has been very considerate that his land is next to a condo building at this stage of the game and hopefully when he develops it will continue that way. He cut down some trees which actually needed to come down. Today,however we noticed he is cutting down perimeter trees which we thought he had agreed would stay until construction began to keep it looking tidy. Anne’s. comment to Dave was this is what happens when you introduce a by-law that begins in April with the kind of penalties Burlington has. We know he has had trees come down naturally and perhaps he is being safety cautious he has always struck us as being very considerate but when one sees trees coming down now we naturally think they are trying to beat the April deadline. . The biggest problem we see is no-oneone will be interested in planting trees as they don’t want to deal with the consequences. We have friends who are adamant about how we needed this by-law. Our response to their enthusiasm is if the city had better looked after the trees we had there would not be a problem. At this time we do not know what the answer is but when our farmers’ businesses are greatly affected as they have been we must support them getting their issues associated with this by-law fixed. Hope this helps understand our position. Regards

  • Alfred

    Anne and Dave. Your concern for the food chain and support for farmers is admirable. Your apparent lack of support and concern for those builders and developers that built your home. Providing you a safe, warm place to live with heat and running water. A place of shelter is much more important than food or water. Let me give you an example. On a cold night in January spend the night on your front lawn in your long johns. After 10 hours I wil give you either a roast chicken and pizza with drinks of course or the keys to your house so you can get back inside and get warm. you can’t have both. If you are still alive, you will now know that shelter is much more important than food. Those that provide it shoud be listened to least as well as farmers if not more.

    • Alfred you lost us have no idea why you would get what you did out of our comment supporting a one size tree by-law does not fit all. From what I understand Council agreed too and are making amendments.

  • Alfred

    Hans. Just a question. How many trees do you have were you live that can cause you financial loss by this By-Law. Probably 0 you seem to speak from afar. Please tell us.

  • James

    Way to go Council, you’ve just turned trees from a desirability to a liability. Just watch, people are going to think twice about buying homes that have large trees on them. I agree with Albert, it’s now open season on trees. Act now or forever rake your leaves!

  • Hans Jacobs

    I understand that Oakville has a tree by-law and wonder how that has worked?
    Having a starting date in January instead of April might have saved some trees….

  • M. Romanelli

    I was there last night and I am pleased but disappointed at the same time…
    The rural area was not informed and one of the delegations made a spot on delegation
    With regards to that point. Also we are not the town of Oakville, we still have a rural area where
    They do not. We have farms that need to maintain trees and tree lines. We suffer from invasive
    Vines which the urban area does not have to deal with. Even though the city bylaw was passed
    We need to customize this bylaw to fit for Burlington. We need to address farms and the
    Rural area differences… so let’s not copy Oakville , we are Burlington.

    • Pity no one listened Maura to the fact that a by-law is not always “one size fits all”. As you know we appreciate what works for urban does not always work for the farmers who we desperately need to pay attention to in order to protect the food chain. First the OP now the tree by-law. We need to support our farmers before it is too late.

  • Albert

    Arborist’s, Start your Chainsaws and Chippers!!
    Between now and April 2020 tree service companies will be going crazy to get ahead of the deadline.