Tree Bylaw: feedback wanted!

Last day to provide feedback on the draft tree bylaw is Sept. 9; please provide your comments on [email protected]. Staff will then be assessing feedback and will bring to Council a revised draft bylaw unless they should determine that there is more work to be done.  As I have posted earlier I am very supportive of a bylaw which protects and promotes the trees on private property.  No bylaw is perfect; by their nature they are a restriction on activity.  But I believe we are vulnerable without such a bylaw given the amount of change happening in our 3 settlement areas which is the area affected by the draft.  e.g  New owners of property come into the Municipal Office and inquire about regulations including asking about a tree bylaw; our answer is “there no bylaw”. People acquire lots with the long term intention of developing them; without a tree bylaw we have no ability restrict the removal of trees or to get compensation for such. Please help us achieve a good bylaw for King.

12 Responses to “ “Tree Bylaw: feedback wanted!”

  1. Norm Elmhirst says:

    I think that clear-cutting of woodlands to simply facilitate site development for subdivisions should be controlled. But I understand that is already restricted under Region policy.

    I do not think there is a problem with removal of single trees in existing, previously developed settlement areas. I would like to know if there have been any surveys showing loss of tree cover in the settlement areas (other than that from the ash borer). If there is not a problem then why try to create one with a bylaw?

    If I purchase a tree from a nursery and plant it on my property, why does that tree become the property of the township or the CCKT in 20 years when it reaches 20cm in diameter. This is the case for many of the existing settlement homes.

    • Debbie says:

      I appreciate the comments. i) Yes, once a development application is made there is “control” of tree cutting in that natural heritage evaluations are done, tree plan is reviewed, compensation plan is agreed. The “risk” is that person(s) can acquire lots in anticipation of making an application but before doing so they clear cut. ii) I am not aware of a survey; I am aware of people observing. iii) I don’t believe it is about tree ownership. Its about fact that those beyond the owner of a tree benefit; with climate change these benefits are more acute, significant but even without climate change there is benefit to others. A revised draft will be coming back to Council in November.

  2. Frank Marando says:

    Getting compensation for removing trees from homeowners is hard for me to understand.
    Why does King City need compensation?
    I recently called the city and then cut down dangerous trees on my property. I am in the process of cleaning up. My neighbors can confirm this. Do I have anything I should be concerned with.

    • Debbie says:

      Thanks for your question Frank. There is no tree bylaw in effect in King City. If there is a tree bylaw in future it would not be retroactive I can assure you. If the current draft bylaw were in effect you would not be required to provide compensation as you indicate that your trees were hazardous; if your trees had been dying or were already dead you would need to provide compensation.

  3. John Flys says:

    Hi Debbie

    The concept is great unfortunately the proposed tree by-law is not
    likely to deter a developer. It is “ cost effective” , at $1,500. per tree
    to remove trees in order to level the area to be developed and to
    be “dewatered”. Presume there are twenty (20) 50 year old Oak or
    Black Walnut trees in the area to be developed. The cost to the
    developer is $30,000. This cost will be passed onto each of the
    eventual 30 lots being developed and that is $1,000. Per lot.
    Not a deterrent at $1,500. Per tree. It may be at $10,000. or
    $25,000. per tree.
    What is a 50 year old Oak or Black Walnut worth.
    All this proposed tree by-law is, in my estimation, green window
    dressing and not really dealing with the problem – the developer
    not the average homeowner.
    I suggest that to make the by-law equitable the penalty for one tree
    is $1,500. For two trees $5,000. If three or more trees $25,000. per tree

    Your legal department can work out the legalize.

    • Debbie says:

      Hi John, First….I am in complete agreement: the compensations in the draft bylaw are in no way equitable in terms of the value of mature trees. I don’t think your comment about the draft bylaw being “green window dressing” is fair in that I don’t think it is being proposed as a significant solution or response to climate change crisis. The latter has made the rationale for a tree bylaw more acute or at least has caused the re-ordering of the long list of why trees are important e.g. carbon sequestration and water retention has moved to the top.

  4. Graham Wyndham-West says:

    Debbie,

    This seems a draconian approach to tree management within the three areas shown on the draft legislation; is punitive rather than coercive. I have to ask what has prompted this approach which is excessive?

    Surely it would be better to encourage municipal landowners to plant trees, rather than to impose excessive fines for cutting them down, even to the extent of providing some contribution to their cost of planting trees or recognition as a King conservationist or green steward of King Township. I suspect that all residents of the Township support the protection of our existing tree canopy and it expansion….all you are proposing is it’s current maintenance.

    Some of the powers that you are invoking border on those of a police state and seem an excessive response given the nature of the problem – destruction or removal of trees which are not replaced. Surely if the Township works with individual landowners as an advisor and provider of expert forestry management much more can be achieved within a framework of legislation governing the removal of trees. The fees that council would charge for the service will be seen as a reasonable cost rather than yet another tax.

    It appears to me that this proposed legislation is an over-reaction by council to the issue of maintaining and increasing the tree canopy in the Township, fueled by the growing and real concerns of global warming. To introduce legislation of this nature that requires additional costs, bureaucracy and increased taxes, a King tree police with their drones and their powers of invasion of residents property is very worrying. Council should be looking at providing a framework to ensure the maintenance of the existing tree canopy and the planting of more trees.

    I suspect that council needs to be more diligent in its approach especially as regards new developments in the Township. Looking at the new houses near the Villa Nova school…. I can’t see one tree planted in any of the gardens.
    What’s going to happen with the Bloomington/Dufferin development with around 1,300 homes being erected on farmland containing thousands of trees…has council applied a similar requirement of the developers as they plan to do to existing King residents? Will the trees be replaced, or do developers get a special remission?

    • Debbie says:

      Hello Graham, i) As I have said in my response to Mr. Flys I don’t think of the draft tree bylaw as being a response to climate crisis. IF it were to be such I think it would need to be far more demanding! ii) Developers do not get “special remission.” Part of the application process includes natural heritage plan, tree removal plan and compensation. In new developments trees are planted on boulevards and in parks; depending on the specifics there are also requirements for naturalization of buffer areas etc. iii) Beauty of consultation is hearing how others perceive something. You say that the draft is punitive,coercive; I look at it as being permissive. The bylaw is about permission to cut down a healthy tree. In contrast, for example, some municipalities do not allow the cutting down of a healthy tree. iv) You have touched on the very real issue of administrative cost; I know that this was a key consideration in developing this draft. Some municipalities permit the cutting of 2 or some number of trees per year; think of the administrative cost of that tracking.

  5. Arlene Heaps says:

    My biggest concern is for the old trees. For instance there are two Maple trees located on Kingscross Drive and Keele that I believe are more than 100 yrs old. I hope they can be protected from ever being cut down or disturbed by building near them. Am still so very upset that there were very old trees on the south east corner of King Rd and Keele that were removed for no good reason. How ironic the Green Party is located there at the moment. There are some lovely old Chestnut trees along the King Rd in King City, hope they can be protected.

  6. Nancy Hopkinson says:

    I disagree with this bylaw. It is aimed squarely at residents and is punitive. It does allow people to take down dead or dying trees without having to do 3 replacement trees or pay $1500 so I can foresee people taking salt to their trees to poison the soil so that the trees die. We should be allowed to take down at least one healthy tree a year without the necessity of getting permission. The amount of administrative work to cover looking after this bylaw will be enormous. Our taxes will definitely have to go up.

    This bylaw will not affect you.

    What most people get upset about is developers wantonly taking down trees. There should be a tree bylaw to address the developers, but not one for the average homeowner who plants trees when they are small and then they get overgrown and crowd out each other and aught to be thinned, but they are all healthy. Why should they have to pay $1500 for taking down one tree when there is not more room on their lot for 3 replacement trees?

    I applaud those who have written in the King Weekly Sentinel expressing their objections to the proposed tree bylaw.

    • Debbie says:

      i) I consider it irrelevant your comment that the draft bylaw does not affect me; a huge portion of the work I do as a Councillor does not affect me. ii) Tree cutting by developers is regulated by the Planning Act via their development applications; the “risk” is that person(s) can acquire lots in anticipation of making an application but before doing so they clear cut. iii) Your hypothesis about how persons will seek to make their trees sick is a sad statement about people; yes there are people who will go to extraordinary length to get around regulation.

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