This Is Our First Chance in 12 Years to Press Our Regional Government to set Stronger Tree Protection Laws in Niagara
News from Niagara’s Regional Government
Posted March 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large
First, here is a Foreword on the importance of all this by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
In all of my years as a journalist covering environmental issues in this region, few have drawn an angrier response from members of the public than the cutting down of mature, healthy trees.
Over and over again, and right up to as recently as the past few months, I’ve continued to receive messages from Niagara citizens who are upset up to a point, in some cases of being, white hot angry over incidents of buzz saws and bulldozers knocking down trees.
And in some cases, where citizens called the appropriate public authorities to report the felling of trees, they were told that there were few if any punitive measures that could be pursued because of the way the Region’s current Tree and Forest Conservation By-law is written.
That is why the process that Niagara’s regional government is embarking on this month – to receive public input to update this by-law for the first time in 12 years – is so important for those of us who care about protecting and preserving trees, and for the over-all health of Niagara’s environment.
Citizens across Niagara who value and want to protect what we have left of our great natural heritage here, need to show up in droves at the so-called “public information centres” listed below, and to take advantage of some of the links below, to press our regional representatives to do whatever they can (within the limits of the Ontario Municipal Act) to strengthen the rules and toughen the penalties to protect trees.
Niagara At Large will have more news and commentary in the days ahead on possible measures that can be taken to further protect trees in our region, but for now, I urge you to please read the information below, and mark the dates and times for information centres you can participate in on our calendars.
One of the reasons I cannot stress the importance of citizens across Niagara getting fully engaged in the process of updating our tree protections rules is this.
We can count on representatives of the development industry and landowner groups participating in this process.
Not all, but at least some of them will be there for one purpose only – to lobby to keep the rules and regulations for protecting trees as weak, and as full of exceptions and loopholes as possible, so that they can go on with business as usual.
They want to do everything possible to make sure that the next time citizens call up to report incidence of tree cutting, they will hear the same thing from enforcement authorities that they have too often heard in the past – that they by-law is such that there is little or nothing they can do in terms of going after the tree cutters.
That leaves it up to the rest of us – to as many Niagara citizens as possible – to get involved in the process up updating our regional government’s tree protection by-law so that incidents where little or nothing can be done to protect our trees are as few as possible.
By the way, there will no doubt be those on the other side who point the finger at us and say, in a somewhat derogatory way; “Oh look, here comes the tree huggers.”
If they do tag you as a ‘tree hugger’, wear it as a badge of honour, because all it means is that you care about our environment and want to protect and preserve it for present and future generations.
When our kids look back and wonder what we did to address the climate crisis and other environmental challenges we face today, I would much rather be remembered as one who was more often on the side of the tree huggers, than on the side of moving in to yet another forested area with buzz saws, bulldozers and asphalt trucks.
Niagara At Large will have more to say on all of this in the days head. Stay tuned.
For now, here is some information from Niagara’s regional government about the by-law review and the upcoming public input sessions –
Woodland By-law Review
We’re undertaking a comprehensive review of the Region’s Woodland By-law.
Niagara Region’s Tree and Forest Conservation By-law (30-2008) has been protecting woodlands in Niagara since 1981. The last update to the by-law occurred in 2008 due to:
- Changes in the Municipal Act
- A request for amendments to the by-law from the Township of West Lincoln
- The transfer of responsibilities for enforcement of the by-law to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
The purpose of this review is to ensure consistent service delivery and application of the by-law across Niagara.
The review will consider:
- Changes to provincial legislation
- Alignment between the by-law and the current Niagara Region Official Plan policies
- Best management practices
- Opportunities for enhancements and efficiencies in administration and enforcement
The project team will be soliciting public feedback on the existing by-law and proposed changes with four public information centres –
Provide your feedback at a public information centre. All information centres will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 24
Wellandport Community Centre, 5024 Canborough Rd., West Lincoln
Wednesday, March 25
Niagara Region headquarters, 1815 Sir Isaac Brock Way, Thorold
Monday, March 30
Gale Centre, 5152 Thorold Stone Rd., Niagara Falls
Tuesday, March 31
Vale Health and Wellness Centre, 550 Elizabeth St., Port Colborne
For more details on this important review, click on – https://www.niagararegion.ca/culture-and-environment/woodland-bylaw-review/default.aspx?topic=1 <https://www.niagararegion.ca/culture-and-environment/woodland-bylaw-review/default.aspx?topic=1>
To review Niagara Region’s current tree protection bylaw, click on – https://www.niagararegion.ca/government/bylaws/tree/pdf/tree-by-law-niagara-region.pdf
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