Councillors on the Planning Committee approved the new bylaw.
The City has a problem with developers clear-cutting woodlots in areas they are not permitted to develop, creating negative consequences for nearby properties, and removing critical elements of the urban canopy with their positive effects on weather and air quality.
In January 2013, Council directed City staff to create a new bylaw to protect woodlots, and the bylaw is now being voted upon by Council.
.5 acres and greater properties will be covered by bylaw
Permits required for tree removal
Currently bylaw provisions for former municipalities will continue to apply where stronger than new bylaw.
To prevent “cost of doing business” fines could be greater than $100,000 per offense, and court order could be sought to require replanting.
If this fails, City can use Planning Act to require replanting as part of planning approvals.
Still vulnerable to “cost of doing business” violation as developer can appeal City replanting conditions and OMB will consider the woodland to be “non-existant” due to the clear cut and overrule City anyway.
The bylaw will not cover individual trees, nor prevent cutting such as what recently occurred at 1 St. James Place.