Resident S.F. asks: Can I cut my neighbour’s tree if the branches overhang my property? What are the rules governing trees on shared property lines?
Answer: There are a few laws regarding trees in Burlington:
1) A tree can be planted anywhere on a residents property, but if the tree is planted on or near a property line then I would refer you to the Ontario Supreme ruling of Hartley vs. Cunningham (2013). Justice Patrick Moore ruled that once the trunk of the tree crosses over the property line, it is considered a shared tree (trunk being the section of the tree from where the roots join the tree to where the tree branches out). If the trunk crosses the property line, you and your neighbour have common ownership of that tree under provincial law (Forestry Act).
2) As for cutting branches that come over onto your property. I think that Dianne Saxe at envirolaw.com/tree-trimming said it best:
“When it comes to trees that overhang the property line, your neighbours usually have the right to cut the branches from your tree which are on their side of the fence. Whether for safety or aesthetic purposes, they must still trim the trees properly, and can’t enter your property to do it. They could be liable if they damage the trees, since the courts recognize trees as something of value. Obviously, it’s best to discuss the matter with your neighbour before taking out your saw.”
If you have any other questions please contact me directly.
Roads and Parks Maintenance
Development and Infrastructure Division
City of Burlington.
905-333-6166 ext 6145.
Resident R.R. asks: You are no doubt familiar with the intersection of Pearl and James. There is no crosswalk and it can be quite dangerous for someone crossing James at Pearl. I believe that there is a road design problem here. I view this as a neighborhood safety matter. I feel strongly that something should be done.
Answer: In the spring of 2015 staff will be completing an intersection pedestrian signal warrant review at this intersection to determine if a pedestrian signal is warranted. Staff’s intent was to undertake this review in the fall; however, one of the main components of the warrant is the number of pedestrians crossing the roadway. With the colder weather fast approaching the results may not reflect how many pedestrians would typically cross James Street at Pearl Street. Therefore, this review will be completed in the spring and I will update you when it has been completed.
In addition to the above review, staff will be reviewing other enhancements to James Street at Pearl Street as part of the upcoming road reconstruction. This may include bump outs to reduce the crossing distance for a pedestrian to cross James Street. Currently, the minimum required sightline is met for a northbound or southbound motorist or pedestrian on Pearl Street to see an eastbound or westbound vehicle on James Street. This minimum required distance is based on the 50km/h speed limit. However, if bump outs are installed this will help to increase the available sightline for motorists and pedestrians to see east/west traffic on James Street.
Finally, staff will be installing a warning tab below the stop signs on Pearl Street at James Street which state “James Street traffic does not stop”. Based on our collision review motorists are stopping for the stop signs and then proceeding under the assumption it’s an all-way stop sign control. We have installed this type of sign at another location within the downtown core which helped to reduce the number of angle collisions.
Installing a red flashing beacon is not warranted, at this time, as only one of the reported collisions within the past 5 years was related to a motorist not stopping for the stop sign and a minimum of five collisions is required.
If you have additional questions or comments, contact:
Brent Jefferson, Traffic Technologist
905 335-7671 ext. 7760, Brent.Jefferson@burlington.ca
Resident K.C. comments: I admit to confusion and some apprehension about the lack of courtesy of fellow pedestrians when walking the sidewalks of our neighbourhood. My husband will no longer go out for a walk, not knowing when he will be confronted by fellow pedestrians who refuse to share the sidewalk, and bully him off of it. When we have walked together and another single person approached us we would fall into single file.
There appears to be a sense of ‘we don’t stop for nobody’ communicated. People walking approaching two or three abreast will not share the sidewalk. It appears the expectation is my husband is to defer to the boulevard or the road. On his last walk a week ago he found himself approached by two young women walking side by side pushing children in strollers. He stopped and stood still; at the last moment they realized they should go single file and one of them rode her stroller over his foot.
I’ll admit that surprisingly the ages of pedestrians displaying sidewalk discourtesy runs the gamut from the young to people in their 80s. The frequency of these discourteous encounters and the sense of entitlement is alarmingly high.
We have encountered numbers of 2 to 6 people engaged in conversation taking up the whole sidewalk totally oblivious to anyone approaching and wanting to pass through and expressing annoyance when you do.
As I said we’re confused and discouraged at the lack of sidewalk courtesy and I felt it should be communicated.
Response: Thanks for this reminder to everyone to share the sidewalk and be courteous when passing other pedestrians.