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The Weather Network
Sep. 18, 2019 | Wednesday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter to the editor: Bylaw protects trees, but town not enforcing rules
File photo.

SUBMITTED BY TERRY DAVIS, NOTL.
OPINION

Dear editor:

Despite receiving at least three complaints from concerned residents, Niagara-on-the-Lake has not required the developer of a property at the corner of John and Victoria streets to comply with the town’s tree bylaw.

Instead of forcing the developer to install a protective barrier around a municipal tree located on the property, as is required under NOTL’s tree bylaw, it has done virtually nothing to stop the developer from parking heavy construction equipment on the root system of the tree, or from undertaking construction work in close proximity to the tree’s root system.

The tree likely will suffer irreparable harm as a result, resulting in its eventual removal.

Two blocks away, yet another tree was cut down on King Street between Anne and John streets in the past week. When the Pillar and Post garden project began more than a year ago, NOTL turned a blind eye when the developer failed to comply with the town’s tree bylaw of the day.

It did not require the developer to install a protective barrier around municipal trees, nor did it require the developer to remove a pile of heavy concrete waste that had been piled on the root system of one of its trees.

The town only took action to ensure its trees were protected, several months later, after a local resident repeatedly expressed concern to a town councillor about the harm being done to the trees. However, the town did not require the pile of concrete to be removed. It sat on the root system of the affected tree for more than one year.

Virtually all of the remaining trees on the west side of King Street between Anne and John streets are now showing signs of distress. In addition, the developer has now allowed the inner protective barrier it placed around the trees to collapse, and is undertaking construction work in close proximity to their root systems.

It would not surprise me if all of them are eventually cut down, diminishing the town’s tree canopy and making a mockery of the town’s tree bylaw.

Bylaws, no matter how well-intentioned, are of no value if they are not consistently enforced. It is my hope that the town will enforce its tree bylaw in the future, and take strong action against anyone who chooses to ignore it.

Terry Davis

NOTL

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