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Council majority not on for tree protection

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Sept 23, 2013:

BurlingtonGreen delegated once again to our city's Council on this important issue. Only the Mayor and Councillor Meed-Ward voted in support of exploring a practical, effective tree protection bylaw for Burlington.

You can view the BurlingtonGreen 5-minute presentation at this webcast 13:00 min mark here.

Sept 19, 2013 (BG e-newsletter):

Burlington Council majority will not explore tree protection bylaw

BurlingtonGreen is at a loss as to why the majority of Burlington Council will not agree to even look at a draft of a practical private property tree protection bylaw so they can make an informed decision to enact a bylaw or not.

We believe Burlington's trees deserve this basic right of consideration. They provide our communities with a wealth of benefits. "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". ("The Benefits of Urban Trees")

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.

Instead, the majority of Burlington Council is taking a pass at a proactive opportunity to address this issue by exploring a practical private tree bylaw – one that provides reasonable allowances for homeowners while protecting trees from unnecessarily being cut down.

Without a private tree bylaw developers are free to remove trees BEFORE they submit a development site plan permit application as was the case in 2011 in the Orchard community in Burlington.

We believe the trees and citizens of Burlington deserve better than this and we will continue to bring the evidence to City Council in an effort to hold them accountable on this issue.

Sept 10:  Last night's discussions at City Hall appeared to be more about development and economy, versus the issue on the agenda: tree protection in Burlington. (see 02:43 time on webcast)

Sept 9: BurlingtonGreen delegation by President, Ken Woodruff and Director, Colin Brock: click here. You can view a webcast of the Committee meeting at City Hall here.

You can review two reports on this issue via a staff report here and Councillor Meed-Ward's proposal here.

We CAN'T give up on protecting Burlington's trees, especially given that our current canopy coverage is lower than the 30 to 50% minimum requirement to support a sustainable environment (Environment Canada).

YOU can help by sharing your viewpoint on local tree protection with our City's leaders. We hope you will help strengthen our voice calling for the establishment of a practical, effective private tree bylaw for Burlington – one that provides reasonable allowances for homeowners while protecting the trees from being unnecessarily being cut down...and lost forever.

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

girl taking photo

If you see a tree(s) being cut down in Burlington, snap a photo and send it to us,
indicating the specific location if you can ("before & after" shots are especially helpful).

More Information, Background, & Actions:
  • You can view the July 8, 2013 meeting webcast here.
  • Failed Democracy at City Hall on Private Tree By-law Issue media release here.
  • Colin Brock (BurlingtonGreen Director) went back to delegate to Council on July 15, 2013, to address Council's questions and concerns raised on July 8th. You can view the meeting webcast here.
  • Unfortunately the majority of Council continues to be opposed to exploring how a practical, effective private tree bylaw could benefit the citizens of Burlington and our city's valuable tree canopy. BurlingtonGreen letter to Council, July 17, 2013 here.
  • BurlingtonGreen continued to reach out to our city's leaders and contacted each Councillor asking if they could kindly share what their specific concerns and outstanding questions were so we could work to address them. As of Sept 9, 2013, we were only able to realize meetings to discuss this important issue with 2 of the 7 members of Council:  Mayor Goldring and Councillor Meed-Ward.

leaves branch blue sky

What would a private property tree by-law look like in Burlington? What could we expect?
You will find the City of Toronto and Town of Oakville's FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on this topic quite helpful. Check them out here: Oakville FAQs & Toronto FAQs

celebrate trees contest small

Thank you to all who participated in our first "Celebrate Burlington's Trees" contest!