The plan to create more urban canopy is underway - contribute to it

By Staff

June 18th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are three issues that the people of Burlington break out into a sweat when they are discussed:
Parking, fireworks and the urban canopy.

Let me focus on the urban canopy. Does it get much better than the picture below?

This is what most people in Burlington want; a gorgeous urban tree canopy that shades our streets, improves property values and gets some of the pollutants out of the air. But at the same time people want to be able to cut down a tree on their property if they don’t like them. We can’t have it both ways.

You can do this in Burlington.

There are those who understand that a tree is not your property – it is something that exists on your property and you are asked to be the steward of that tree while you are with it.

The tree is probably going to last longer than you will.

There are others who want to be able to cut down a tree on their property because they are tired of raking up the leaves in the fall.

The city is currently working on an Urban Forest Master Plan and like most of the planning decisions the city has a survey – yup another one.

The City of Burlington is seeking community input to help develop an Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP). The Urban Forest Master Plan will update and replace the Urban Forest Management Plan created in 2010. The new Master Plan will provide the strategic direction to manage the urban forest in response to new challenges related to urban development, climate change and extreme weather, and invasive pests. Specifically, the UFMP will provide:

Take the Burlington Urban Forest Master Plan survey to help shape the urban forest vision and strategic directions for the Urban Forest Master Plan. The survey is approximately 15 minutes in length, and we will be open until June 29, 2022.

You are then asked to slip over to the GET INVOLVED page (provide the link) and tell the city where the places are that you would like to see it improved along with a photo of the location.

Find out what other people think by clicking the points on the map.

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7 comments to The plan to create more urban canopy is underway – contribute to it

  • Michael Hribljan

    I baited the hook and it did not take long for a bite. Dave, what you just did was a technique called “dream scaping”, connecting my desire for freedom to the the trucker convoy to discredit me. Shameful technique used by the likes of CNN and FOX.

    What we have here is government over reach. Building permits are required to ensure structures, renovations and so on are safe and inhabitable – I expected someone would try this comparison. I can build a shed up to a 100 ft2 without a building permit, I have that freedom, but have to pay a fee to remove a tree, ridiculous, just a plain and simple tax grab. What next, a fee to remove big rocks?

    I suspect many developers have to pay this fee, the city then uses those proceeds to plant trees, a reasonable plan. But what happens in reality is that those costs get added to new homes and drives up the cost, and those costs are marked up! So the unintended consequence is added cost to development, when now everyone is complaining about affordability of homes. This is one small factor imposed by our gatekeepers (yes another bait).

    Big picture, we have a city with a downtown that has turned into a canyon of condos, our mayor and council have failed to make any measurable difference. Traffic is a mess and building sites spill out on to the road way at many corners.

    We’re talking about tree canopy, when in fact if you live in any condo on one of the higher floors, in most areas you can not see the ground for the number of trees, I really struggle to see this as a critical issue when there are bigger fish to fry.

    • Dave Turner

      Michael

      Baited the hook? No you stated your position, to which you are entitled. But like the truckers you invoked the same “freedom” argument. You drew the connection not me.

      “Building permits are required to ensure structures, renovations and so on are safe and inhabitable…

      AND AESTHETICALLY SENSITIVE i.e setback requirements, height restrictions, lot coverage area restrictions, occupancy restrictions. All curbs on your freedom.to do whatever you want.

      “…– I expected someone would try this comparison. I can build a shed up to a 100 ft2 without a building permit, I have that freedom, but have to pay a fee to remove a tree, ridiculous, just a plain and simple tax grab.”

      YOUR STATEMENT IS MISLEADING & INACCURATE

      No permit or fee is required for the removal of a tree with a trunk diameter at standard waist height of 20cm or less. The tree equivalent of your shed.

      To give you an idea of what that can mean in real terms, this year my neighbour took down a healthy 30 year old spruce tree, approximately 25 feet tall. But because the tree’s trunk diameter was only 15cm, no permit and no fee were required.

      Please educate yourself and actually read the bylaw and don’t make wild assumptions based upon your biased predisposition.

      Yes the permit cost and the required payment in lieu of replanting trees might have a affect, though likely small, on the construction cost and ultimately the sale cost. But what price for the protection of our already battered environment?

      “Bigger fish to fry”? What fish is bigger than the planet we all live on? How will your kids, grand kids, great grand kids look at you, remember you for not sucking it up and for not supporting this small environmental conservation action?

      A couple of questions for you.

      How many trees over 20cm trunk diameter did you cut down in 2021?

      How many will you cut down in 2022?

      Likely none and none. So quit complaining and enjoy your personal freedoms, limited as they are by society.

  • Michael Hribljan

    Our property could be described as a botanical garden, however if I want to take a tree down and do something different I now have to pay a fee to the city when its above a certain size and agree to other conditions. This is a violation of our freedom as property owners.

    I also see orange fencing all over the city protecting trees, when properties are being renovated, this is nuts. When was the last time a contractor damaged a tree on on a customer’s property? Does the city realize most of this material ends up in landfills and in a small way adds to construction costs that drive up housing costs? What’s the carbon foot print (and mass balance) of this craziness? Contractor drives to site installs fence, removes polymer fence (made from oil), takes to landfill??? I agree with Denise, lots of tweaking to this bylaw required.

    • Dave Turner

      “violation of our freedom as property owners”. Really ? You sound like those trucker people. You want to build on your property – you have to get permision (a permit) from the municipality. You want to demolish a building on your property – you have to get permision (a permit) from the municipality. You want to put in a swimming pool – you have to get permision (a permit) from the municipality.

      I guess you look at each of those as being a violation of your freedom. We’ll you are right each is a violation of your individual freedom ! But that’s ok, because the violations are so that the interest of society as a whole takes precedence over an individual’s rights and interests; yes at the expense of an individual’s freedom..

  • Adam

    The only places in Burlington with a tree canopy like that are old neighbourhoods built in the 50’s, 60’s up until the 80’s. Everything built after that has no tree canopy and never will because the houses are too tight and there are no yards. In the old neighbourhoods, trees come down because they are old, almost no one cuts trees down because “they don’t like leaves”. People pay big money to be in leafy neighbourhoods. If you are looking for a “problem” it is that newly built areas of Burlington were clear cut and have no chance to grow a canopy.

    • Denise W.

      Very true.

      Now I was “asked”? I wasn’t asked, quite the opposite. I’m not against trees, but rather in favour of property owners rights. And if asked, this tree bylaw needs a lot of tweaking. I think we were all fine before it came along.

      • Dave Turner

        Denise, unfortunately we weren’t all fine.

        Before the private tree bylaw there was a huge gap in regulations/requirements that allowed for trees on orivate property to be clear cut.

        When did clear cutting on private property happen? Well, when the lot (whether a building was on it or not) had been sold to a developer. The owner of the property (the developer) was entitled to cit down any trees it liked up until the time the owner of the property submitted a development application to the City. Once that application was received by the City the owner of the property (the developer) was no longer allowed to take down or damage any trees on that property without a permit from the City. So developers of lots, especially in-fill lots in south Burlingron would clear cut before submitting their development application. The Private Tree Bylaw is supposed to close that loophole. Unfortunately, developers cut down the trees on weekends or at other times when there is no bylaw enforcement available. Forgiveness versus Permission? Heavy deterring penalties combined with strong enforcement is needed. It’s the same situation as with the demolition of heritage buildings.

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