Monday, October 11, 2010

Protecting Urban Trees and City Hall

Recently, there was a furor in Edmonton over plans by the City's Department of Forestry to cut down a large number of elm trees on the boulevard on Whyte Avenue. Citizen protest was so great that the number of trees to be removed dropped from 70 to 20. It is clear that Edmontonians want their public trees preserved. Now Councillor Ben Henderson wants to know how citizens feel about the protection of trees on private property. (When your neighbors' trees are cut down or harmed, they can affect your property value, as well as the beauty of your neighborhood.) Councillor Henderson would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important issue. Here is a quote from an open letter by Henderson:

"Concerning the trees on City land, the Forestry Department is guided by its Tree Management Politicy, which requires that Forestry set up guidelines to ensure that City trees are not unnecessarily harmed or destroyed. But what about trees that live on citizens' own property? are there regulatins to which concerned citizens can turn to protect these trees? Over the past couple of decades, many other municipalities in Canada--including Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto--have developed policies and bylaws that restrict the actions property owners can take towards trees ont heir own property. If a tree is of a certain age and value (judged by tree diameter) ownders cannot harm them without first obtaining a permit fromt he city, usually reuiring the visit of an arborist. I am interested in how citizens feel about this issue. Clearly mature trees are a critically important part of our mature neighbourhoods. I am interested in your thoughts on the possibility of a bylaw to protect them. Do you see this as a beneficial and reasonable use of City resources? You can contact me at or phone 780-496-8146."

Some Forest Facts

Continuing on the theme of protecting our trees, did you know that Canada has 10 percent of the world's forests? According to Natural Resources Canada (2009 figures), we have 397.3 million hectares of forest, other wooded land and other land with tree cover. Our predominant tree species on forest land are spruce (53.2 percent), poplar (11.6 percent) and pine (9.3 percent).

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