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Niagara Falls
Monday, April 15, 2024
Letter: Has tree worshipping become the new religion?
Letter writer Ron Fritz weighs in on the town's tree bylaw. EVAN LOREE

Dear editor:

It has been years since I have read such a heartless letter by Beth Macdonald, “Time to change thinking about our environment,” (The Lake Report, March 7).

In Ms. Macdonald’s world, the preservation of trees outweighs a grandparent’s desire to make their yard more inviting for visiting grandchildren or outweighs an elderly senior’s desire to remain in their home, which they may have lived in for decades, because they can no longer deal with their “messy” trees.

Unlike other letters published in The Lake Report on this topic at least Ms. Macdonald makes passing reference to the “danger” presented by trees.

In her world the benefits of trees outweigh the fact that apparently healthy trees can cause significant damage to homes and vehicles, the loss of power during the depths of winter and even death either when they are toppled or have branches break off during a storm.

Ordinarily we expect our politicians to protect us from obvious dangers and yet the tree bylaw does just the opposite.

She asserts that you will welcome the shade of trees when it is “42 C in July” without considering that there are other alternatives.

I live in a rambling heritage-designated, west-facing property that has no trees along its 80-foot frontage.

When I moved into the property, I had installed two very large energy-efficient central air conditioners.

The last time I ran the air conditioner servicing the 200-year-old main part of the badly insulated house was more than five years ago.

The other air conditioner servicing the rest of the house has been run from three to five days in each of those same five-plus years.

Instead, we open windows to promote cross breezes and close the blinds on the 11 west- and south-facing windows.

Those in favour of the tree bylaw argue that all trees, whether on public or private property, are a community benefit. Yet, they are not prepared to pay for that benefit.

Perhaps they might think differently if a successful class-action law suit was brought by those against the bylaw arguing that town council has expropriated their trees on private property without compensation and for the ongoing maintenance costs of those trees.

The amount of damages would run into at least eight figures, which would have to be met by a significant increase in property taxes.

Has the worshipping of trees become the new religion?

Ron Fritz

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