Tree Preservation

tree preservation under construction photo

tree preservation under construction photo

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.



$8.3 Million Award

In December, a jury awarded $8.3 million in damages to two boys who were injured when a car crashed into their dirt bike in an accident occurring March 30, 2005. The jury found the boys negligent in the crash, as well as the driver of the car and the city’s contractor, but said that 82 percent of the responsibility for the crash was attributed to the city for allowing a blind intersection from overgrown vegetation. Once the verdict is reviewed and Judge Colaw signs the judgment, the city will have 30 days to appeal.

One of the injured boys, Trenten Merrill, required several surgeries, and subsequently lost his right leg below the knee. In apportioning the judgment, the jury awarded $7.2 million to Merrill, and $1.1 million to Agostini, the other boy on the bike. Any money that is paid will not come directly from the City of San Juan Capistrano, but will come from an insurance pool the city belongs to. Merrill originally sought $12 million in damages, while the city offered $1 million as a settlement. There were four unsuccessful attempts at mediation to settle the civil suit.