Why is a by-law being considered?
City Council asked staff to prepare a draft private tree by-law in March of 2017, based on existing tree by-laws in other Ontario cities. A private property tree by-law was part of the Urban Forestry Management Plan approved by Council in 2011.
A by-law regulating trees on or affecting City property previously came into effect in June of 2018.
Who does this proposed by-law affect?
All private property owners within the City’s urban boundary would be impacted.
What would the proposed by-law protect?
- Trees classified as significant species (see Appendix 1 below)
- Trees designated by Council as a significant tree
- Deciduous trees greater than 30 centimetres in diameter
- Coniferous trees greater than 20 centimetres in diameter
Significant Species List
1. Tamarack (Larix laricina)
2. Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
3. Butternut (Juglans cinerea)
4. Hickory species (Carya species)
5. Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
6. Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)
7. Sweet (Cherry) Birch (Betula lenta)
8. Beech species (Fagus species)
9. Oak species (Quercus species)
10.White Elm (Ulmus americana)
11.Slippery (Red) Elm (Ulmus rubra)
12.Hackberry species (Celtis species)
13.Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata)
14.Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
15.Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
16.Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
17.Black Maple (Acer nigrum)
18.Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica)
19.Eastern Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
If approved, how would the by-law be enforced?
The by-law would be enforced through a permit process, as well as through complaints (wherein violations are subject to prosecution and penalties for conviction).
In addition to establishing provisions related to inspection and enforcement, the by-law (if approved) would allow the City to issue orders and recover costs if the City needs to complete work on private property further to a permit or order.
What if I have a tree that needs to be removed or altered?
If approved, tree destruction and modifications will be regulated through a permit process, with specific conditions to be granted. The proposed fee for the permit is $100 per tree, plus $50 for each additional tree (to be reviewed annually).
The City may also require replacement tree plantings, mitigation or other forms of compensation.
When is a permit not required?
- A permit is not required for emergency work (preventing danger following natural events such as weather or unforeseen circumstances such as an automobile accident, as well as drain repairs, utility repairs, or structural repairs, etc.)
- Trees that are dead, dying or diseased
- Trees that are an immediate threat to health and safety
- Trees causing structural damage to load-bearing or roof structures
- Pruning and maintenance in accordance with Good Arboricultural Practice
- Trees protected under the Region of Niagara’s Tree and Forest Conservation By-law for which permission has been granted by the Region or Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
- Trees protected under provincial legislation for which permission has been granted by the appropriate authority
- Trees approved by the City in accordance with the Planning Act
How does this fit in with the City’s strategic plan?
The proposal is related to the environmental sustainability goal to lead in the protection of the environment for future generations.
What are other municipalities doing?
By-laws in other Ontario municipalities vary, but a review has helped the City develop the draft private property tree by-law. Here are links to what other municipalities have in place:
- City of Barrie
- City of Guelph
- City of Kingston
- City of Kitchener
- Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake
- City of Brantford
- City of London
- City of Mississauga
- Town of Oakville
- City of Ottawa
- Town of Richmond Hill
- City of Toronto
- City of Hamilton (while the City does not have an all-encompassing private tree by-law, Ancaster, Dundas and Stoney Creek have identified areas where trees are protected on private property)