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Niagara Falls
Friday, April 19, 2024
Letter of the Week: Tedious process to get action when trees threatened
An AI cartoon of a lightly forested area. RICHARD HARLEY/MIDJOURNEY

Dear editor:

When I wrote to members of town council about our tree bylaw and protecting trees on construction sites, particularly in Chautauqua, I only heard back from Coun. Wendy Cheropita.

I want to thank her for taking up the cause because without her involvement I believe not much would have happened.

However, I also tried using the town’s online service request form to report specific problems on a construction site.

It was a very tedious process and somewhat disappointing.

To begin with, the first long request number is supplied when you complete the request.

You then get an email telling you your request has been received but without any reference number and then you get another email that gives you a proper tracking number.

The next email told me that the request was logged in and I could now track it.

Opening the file I noticed that the service address given was my home address and not 7 Circle St., where the problem was.

I venture to guess it was because you have to give your name and address and then there is a box provided where you enter the problem.

Whoever entered the request could not actually have looked at that. So, I made a call and the address was corrected.

My next step was more pictures and another email because, instead of remedies, construction materials had now been placed under an endangered tree at the front of the property.

The next morning, Thursday, Feb. 8 an email arrived telling me: “We are happy to inform you your service request is now closed …  Take the survey…”

Not sure if I was more confused or upset. I made another call and in the end I got Harry the tree bylaw person on the line. He was most helpful in explaining some of the happenings.

Harry and I actually have talked a number of times on this and other tree and construction-related issues over the past year. He has always been most helpful and caring.

As of now, the big mound of dirt under the large tree at the rear of the property has been removed. The protective fencing around the front tree fell down and was put back up, though part of it was still sagging as of Feb. 23.

And, by the way, despite being told by the councillor and Harry that I should get a call from someone at the town, none was ever received.

I get the impression that the tree bylaw is seen as a nuisance or just ignored by the town’s planning and building departments or they don’t know or care if there are any trees on the property. The departments also don’t seem to talk to each other.

As an example, on top of the two very mature trees endangered at 7 Circle St., the new layout of the building has moved the garage and therefore the driveway to the other side where there are a number of boundary trees that are now also threatened.

This is only a small project and it makes me wonder what happens on some of the larger, new developments.

It truly makes me so sad to see what is happening to my beloved Chautauqua and Niagara-on-the-Lake as a whole.

Margret Walker

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