Mississauga Seeks to Protect its Urban Forest
By Brian Madigan LL.B.
Under discussion by the councillors of the city of Mississauga are new rules for forest management.
Basically, the city wants to tighten the rules to prevent homeowners from chopping down trees on their own properties.
The by-law now, apparently, is viewed as too open, and not restrictive enough.
The proposal to protect mature trees of 38 centimetres in diameter (just less than 15 inches across its width).
However, in order to protect the larger trees, you must prevent the removal of smaller trees. So, the proposal deals with the removal of any tree 30 centimetres in diameter (this is about 11 ¾ inches). A permit for removal would be required. Presently, there is no such requirement.
But, that’s just the beginning, they get even smaller. If you want to remove 5 or more trees, over 15 centimetres in diameter (just under 6 inches wide), then you would require a permit.
The present by-law allows removal of a healthy tree, conditional upon replacement. There is an option, rather than planting a new tree, the homeowner could pay restitution to the City’s replacement tree planting fund in the amount of $410. This would no longer be an option.
The new requirement would be one new tree for every 15 centimetres. This means a 45 cm tree would require the planting of three new trees.
Substantial fines are to be imposed upon those who fail to follow the by-law.
We will have to watch this by-law as it travels through the system. It does however point to the issue of having a landscape plan drawn up professionally before you start planting.
When the trees are all small saplings at the nursery, they all look "cute", but a decade later some are still small saplings and others have grown to over 25 ft. and in another 10 years to 50 ft. In some cases they are just overgrown and much too close to one another. Proper spacing is a fundamental issue.
The other problem is that they may be too close to the house, the garage, the swimming pool or the neighbour’s property, not to mention the underground gas lines, electrical lines, phone lines, cable lines, water pipes, sewer pipes and other below surface obstacles.
Clearly, it is best to be on top of this issue.
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker is an author and commentator on real estate matters, if you are interested in residential or commercial properties in Mississauga, Toronto or the GTA, you may contact him through RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage 416-745-2300.