Comment 104760

By Hamilton tree (anonymous) | Posted September 23, 2014 at 11:56:05

This is not a new issue and it is politics that are killing our trees.

For years our cover has been undersized and unprotected.

Our tree maintenance is behind by years and has really just become a chainsaw care program where trees are cut when ill or inconvenient.

An attempt was made over 4 years to create a tree protection bylaw citywide but it was crushed by councilors at the bidding of developers led by the president of the Home Builders Association. I know I was there pity I and another were the only ones there speaking for the trees. I even came to criticize it but defended it because everyone else wanted it gone.

There is some protection in the amalgamated areas as they had pre-existing bylaws but not for Hamilton proper.

Additionally it is because trees have no net worth unless cut. This must change. People are too quick along with developers to cut trees and at best simply say they will "replace" them with others elsewhere.

It doesn't work that way. It takes years of growth to make a tree and minutes to kill one.

They are far more valuable alive but Hamilton does not yet see them this way. Again and again trees are "replaced" with young stunted little things that often do not survive.

Yet they make the air we breath provide shade and a multitude of other benefits for those who are only self-interested. But policy has to reflect this or people will never see the true value of a tree.

The ash borer is relatively new and the knee-jerk response to hack and slash our canopy just because they might possibly at some point hit an area is not helping. But it is having an undeniable effect, we just cannot blame a lot of the situation on this latest insect incursion.

Is we were to truly count the full extent of the local green spaces then we would need to up the minimum as conservation areas etc do not make up for absent trees elsewhere. Further because we have the escarpment and all those trees which make up so much of our canopy yet cannot supply the needed benefits in other treeless areas. We should have a higher canopy than is needed due to this richness but we are failing miserably.

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