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Belleville lags behind on tree bylaws

By Matthew Kerr

Belleville,Ont-A property on the east side of Belleville was recently cleared of three acres of trees.

A Belleville property owner recently cut down three acres of trees to make way for a new motel.

The clear cutting of trees would have needed a special permit in many Ontario municipalities but not in Belleville.

The city doesn’t have a bylaw on tree removal on private property unless it’s on the waterfront and likely won’t establish one soon, said Chuck Naphan who works for City of Belleville public works department.

“Belleville has one of the most heavily forested urban areas in Ontario, I can’t see in the future any kind of control over private property,” said Naphan.

Marilyn Bucholtz, of the Lower Trent Conservation, said you can’t deny the value of having trees in the community but it is up to each community to control their trees.

“They help with erosion control, flood protection, shading water bodies to sustain diversity and replenish air supply but you have to let the municipalities keep doing what they are doing,”

In Quinte municipalities, a permit to remove trees is only required when they are located along the water’s edge.

Jennifer May-Anderson, who works for Quinte Conservation, said none of the municipalities they are responsible for have any sort of tree bylaws.

Spencer Hutchison, an engineering and planning department official for Belleville, said Belleville has not had any thoughts or requests to enact such a bylaw.

Other cities in Eastern Ontario have bylaws preventing the removal of trees without a permit. Ottawa has a tree bylaw that prevents removing trees on both private and city property. Kingston enacted a bylaw in 2007 that requires a permit to remove any trees within the city.

The Municipal Act of Ontario allows municipalities to pass bylaws regarding tree removal but Belleville has not yet enacted any bylaws.