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Private tree bylaw proposed for Roseland as pilot project

Streetscape in Roseland, showing abundance of mature trees.
Streetscape in Roseland, showing abundance of mature trees.

A private tree bylaw is being proposed for Roseland as a pilot project.

The Development & Infrastructure Committee will consider a motion at its March 22 meeting directing staff to investigate the implementation of a pilot tree by-law for the Roseland neighbourhood. Staff would review options including, but not limited to: length of time for pilot project, extent of regulations, budget and staffing requirements, and measures to evaluate success, as well as community consultation. Staff would report back to committee June 21 with the information, allowing committee to decide whether to proceed with the pilot.

If approved, the pilot project will help determine the applicability of a private tree by-law in other neighbourhoods, and, potentially, a private tree by-law for the entire city.

Requests for a private tree by-law in Burlington have come from many communities, most recently from the Roseland community as part of the Character Area Study process. As one of the community’s oldest neighbourhoods, Roseland has a large number of mature trees that contribute to its character.

Separately, the community has launched the Roseland Tree Planting Initiative to plant trees within the public rights-of-way in areas with a high percentage of mature trees.

Any recommendation from the March 22 D&I will go to council for final approval April 11. More information about the committee is available here, with links to the agenda reports:

My Take: I support a private tree bylaw for Burlington, so I support a pilot project in Roseland that will yield information to get us one step closer to that goal. Residents in the Ward 2 neighbourhoods of Lakeshore, Wellington, St. Luke’s and elsewhere have asked for a tree bylaw, given the large number of mature trees in these areas. Through my community liaisons program, I will also work with neighbourhood leaders to explore establishing tree planting in public rights of way in various neighbourhoods.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.


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  1. I’m all for giving trees their rightful place. I support a private tree bylaw and congratulate Roseland for being receptive – may the whole city follow their lead!

  2. I fully support a private tree by law and the sooner the better. Burlington is far behind other communities in southern Ontario. This matter has been dealt with previously and failed.

  3. My take is that a tree law is definitely required. In the past couple of weeks a house across the street, that is about to be torn down, had a crane in the back yard and, if I am not mistaken, at least 4 trees were removed. Really bothers me when you have trees that are 100+ years old and builders move in and tear them down. Roseland seems to be losing more and more trees, a lot of them are beautiful large beech trees, it really is too bad. We have lived in the neighbourhood for 37 years.

  4. Hi Marianne: This is a wonderful first step in securing the tree canopy we have in Burlington. I applaud your initiative and persistence on this matter. The plan you outline will provide many answers to the questions surrounding the issue of trees on private property. Seems to me if Oakville and Toronto can establish an effective policy, we certainly can. We are losing mature trees at an alarming rate with the in-fill in south Burlington. The indiscriminate removal of trees here is a real concern. Thank you again for moving this issue forward.

  5. This is long overdue! Lets push to get this in place before there are more clear-cuts like we witnessed at the shameful Ghent st. townhouse development!

  6. Marianne,
    Although generally in favour of maintaining the urban forest, trees can become a problem over time–especially if too close to the house or if they become diseased or damaged. I have questions: 1. who will administer this test project? 2. what will be the cost to the city of administering & enforcing the project? 3. what are the CRITERIA for maintaining or removing a tree? (we need to know these ahead of time; in my experience with a City tree in the front of my house, the City is not very sympathetic to homeowners who are experiencing a problem of nuisance. Trees seem to be a priority over people with certain bureaucrats) 4. what are the specific boundaries of “Roseland”? Are these defined?

  7. Marianne, this is a very good idea. My question is who will monitor this tree by-law? Also will there be fines for those who decide to go ahead and remove mature trees? Will the fine be large enough to act as a deterrent ? The City itself has removed many mature trees – how many trees were removed to build the Pier?

What's your take?

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