Protect Burlington's Trees

Protect trees poster imageTree Loss Affects All of us

Private trees are a key part of public life. Burlington Council needs to vote YES to establish a practical, effective private property tree bylaw to protect our city's vital urban tree canopy. From producing clean air and adding beauty and property value, to protecting watersheds and mitigating flood damage, trees are an integral part of our community.

When we look around our landscape, we may assume we have enough trees and that cutting more doesn’t really matter. The truth is – we don't have enough. Planting more trees is only part of the solution; we need to protect the older growth trees as well.

"Conservation Halton's Watershed report card indicated the overall forest cover in our watershed is 26.4% or a grade of C (F in the urban areas). The majority of large forested areas are located above the Niagara Escarpment. This coverage is lower than the 30 to 50% minimum requirement to support a sustainable environment as identified by Environment Canada. Add to that the projected loss of 10% of trees in our city as a result of Emerald Ash Borer and we argue that we need more solution-focused mechanisms in place to protect and increase our tree canopy in Burlington."

–Amy Schnurr, Executive Director, BurlingtonGreen

benefits of urban trees

"A tree is a very modest investment in a community and as it grows
it is the only asset in the entire city infrastructure that increases in value as it grows"
-Benefits of Urban Trees video ( below)

Our neighbours are progressing ahead of us...

Protect trees community tooMost of the local trees that make up our urban canopy are located on private property. Yet, unlike at least 16 other Ontario municipalities, Burlington does not have a private property tree protection bylaw. Some examples of private property tree protection bylaws:  Oakville, Hamilton, Toronto, Kingston

Without a reasonable regulation in place, property owners can cut down as many trees as they like for any reason thereby reducing the urban tree canopy, negatively affecting the larger community and our collective future.

Urban Trees Need Protection

 What you need to know:

  • Protect trees stumpIn March 2016, Mayor Goldring introduced a proposal for a private property tree by-law in the Roseland Community as a pilot project. However, there still seems to be hesitation from Council to proceed on this. You can read BurlingtonGreen's delegation text on the subject here.
  • In 2013, City Council voted against a private property tree bylaw despite our city’s Urban Forest Management Plan calling for increased protection, a more proactive approach to tree management, and an opportunity for study of private tree regulations.

  • Check out Burlington’s Urban Forest Management Plan. The city’s own management plan calls on officials to do a better job at protecting and enforcing protection of our urban canopy.

  • A practical, effective private property tree bylaw will NOT block owners from removing damaged, diseased, or over-grown trees.

  • Cutting down trees should not be the “go-to” first and only approach to issues – as was the case in 2014 with the loss of a line of apple trees on Guelph Line between St. Christopher’s Anglican Church and the neighbouring apartment building. Despite the trees being healthy and volunteers ready to pick the apples with a harvest from those trees of 500 lbs of food, they appeared to be destroyed for the sake of  “convenience”.

  • Some Councillors have claimed there is little interest in Burlington for regulating private tree removal – we need to show our representatives we do care about protecting these vital resources.

Have your say! BurlingtonGreen needs your voice in the discussion:


Additional Information

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This page is part of BurlingtonGreen's Greenprint for the Future awareness and advocacy program.
The program, covering a number of local issues, is made possible
thanks to funding from MEC.