I just finished my survey response to the Urban Forestry Management plan, and decided to post it here before I post my platform position on a related topic. While I agree quite strongly with the goals outlined in the report, I am wholeheartedly against infringing on property owners’ rights when it comes to removing trees on their own, private property.
My survey response:
The city should not be creating a bylaw requiring a permit to cut down trees on private property. While I respect the position that we need to preserve and protect the trees in the city, enjoyment of my property (for which I am taxed quite heavily) should not be infringed upon by the city to meet someone else’s goals of canopy cover.
The truth of the matter is, this proposed bylaw seems to have arisen for no apparent need or reason.
There is no epidemic of private property owners chopping down trees. As the plan states, most property owners welcome trees and are happy to have them on their property, both for aesthetic and economic reasons. The city is inundated with requests for tree planting – this in itself seems to indicate that residents want more trees, not less. Why then does the city think there is a requirement for this bylaw?
As a homeowner, I should have the ability to make changes to my property with a minimal amount of interference from the city. While I agree with many of the goals outlined in the management plan, they should not be obtained through an unfair restriction of property owner’s rights.