The city of Cambridge, Ontario has decided that it needs a bylaw that protects trees from being cut down by residents and developers. This policy change has come about after past concerns were aired from tree removals on construction sites and from the recent tree removals at the Hill Manor nursing home. The Hill Manor nursing home is a long-term care facility that is undergoing an expansion. The company operating this facility, Peoplecare, decided to remove two butternut hybrid trees that the city council had requested be saved during construction. Because there was no bylaw in place before the removal, Peoplecare will not be penalized for the removal.
The butternut hybrid trees were removed because they were not in excellent health and because they would prevent a fire truck from reaching the back of the building. Although these removals have been factored into a replanting proposal for the site, Janet Babcock, commissioner of planning for the city, is unhappy with the removals. “ It is not just a question of replacement, you can’t just replace a tree that’s been growing for 50 years,” she said.
The proposed tree protection bylaw was presented to the Cambridge city council on June 27th. This bylaw would set guidelines for removing trees that developers and residents would have to follow. Currently, the tree bylaw is scheduled to be ready for the council to vote on in November and become active in December. “A tree preservation would be helpful…it puts in place penalties in the event that someone wants to remove mature, healthy trees,” said Babcock.