My response to the Urban Forestry Management Plan

I just finished my survey response to the Urban Forestry Management plan, and decided to post it here before I post my platform position on a related topic.  While I agree quite strongly with the goals outlined in the report, I am wholeheartedly against infringing on property owners’ rights when it comes to removing trees on their own, private property.

My survey response:

The city should not be creating a bylaw requiring a permit to cut down trees on private property.  While I respect the position that we need to preserve and protect the trees in the city, enjoyment of my property (for which I am taxed quite heavily) should not be infringed upon by the city to meet someone else’s goals of canopy cover.

The truth of the matter is, this proposed bylaw seems to have arisen for no apparent need or reason.

There is no epidemic of private property owners chopping down trees.  As the plan states, most property owners welcome trees and are happy to have them on their property, both for aesthetic and economic reasons.  The city is inundated with requests for tree planting – this in itself seems to indicate that residents want more trees, not less.  Why then does the city think there is a requirement for this bylaw?

As a homeowner, I should have the ability to make changes to my property with a minimal amount of interference from the city.  While I agree with many of the goals outlined in the management plan, they should not be obtained through an unfair restriction of property owner’s rights.

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3 thoughts on “My response to the Urban Forestry Management Plan

  1. If anyone has a good reason to chop down a backyard tree, it is me. My wife and I live under a mature walnut tree that rains debris upon us year round. It’s not just the leaves in the fall, it’s the twigs in winter, the flower stamens and pollen in spring, and the walnuts beginning mid summer. The squirrels chew off the husks and drop bits all over our back yard. Not only do the husks stain everything they come in contact with but everything falling from the tree stains things a dark brown and makes makes decks slippery to walk on when wetted by rain. And then there’s the danger of branches coming down in strong winds and we’ve had a few over the years. No doubt the wood in this tree, which has a straight trunk about 3′ in diameter and 30′ high, is worth something. So why haven’t I chopped it down? Because it provides us and our neighbours with shade and protection from the wind. I don’t need a city bylaw to tell me this. I recognize the value of this tree beyond the material value in spite of the excessive maintenance that comes with it. The last thing this city needs is another citizens committee made up of lay persons telling the rest of us what we can and cannot do on our own property. A better approach would be to simply educate the public on the value of trees and remind them that their neighbours can be detrimentally affected by removing that tree in your back yard.

    • I recognize the value of this tree beyond the material value in spite of the excessive maintenance that comes with it. The last thing this city needs is another citizens committee made up of lay persons telling the rest of us what we can and cannot do on our own property. A better approach would be to simply educate the public on the value of trees and remind them that their neighbours can be detrimentally affected by removing that tree in your back yard.

      David – agreed. Especially on the last part about education, which is part of the report and something I agree with.

      It’s insulting when you realise how little faith government has in its citizens to act in a rational manner.

  2. Pingback: A worthwhile debate on tree bylaw « Mathew Siscoe

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