tree canopy

Strengthening Toronto’s Tree Canopy

I am pleased to report that the Parks and Environment Committee voted to support and approve my motion to strengthen Toronto’s tree canopy – which suffered real damage from the ice storm.

My motion directs Urban Forestry staff to bring forward recommendations to improve Toronto’s tree protection bylaw, including, among other things:

  • A communications strategy to ensure that the public is aware of the ins and outs of our tree protection policies;
  • Better integration of any and all tree-related considerations in the planning and development process;
  • Improvements to the manner and form of public notice required by the bylaw;
  • Uniform and consistent criteria to define what constitutes a tree in “healthy condition” and “poor condition;” and,
  • Information on the impacts of soil volume on the health and longevity of replacement trees.

These points grew directly from your feedback and my street-by-street experience working on tree issues in Ward 25!

Alongside improvements on the enforcement end, these changes will make the tree protection bylaw stronger and more effective.

Post City Column: Upholding Bayview’s tree canopy

By Jaye Robinson
Post City Magazine — Bayview Edition
March 2014

Ward 25 has one of the largest tree canopies in the city with over 50 per cent forest cover. It is one of the main reasons our neighbourhoods are such desirable places to live.

I have been a long-standing advocate for trees, working alongside residents to save trees in Ward 25. That’s why it is devastating to see how many trees were damaged as a result of the December ice storm. Ours was one of the hardest hit. Many mature trees were heavily damaged and have been removed.

Some estimate that as much as 20 per cent of Toronto’s tree canopy was lost. This is a big setback for the city as it moves forward with a plan to increase Toronto’s tree canopy.

One way to achieve our goal is through Toronto’s tree protection bylaw, which could use a bit of fine tuning to make it more effective. That’s why I will be moving a number of motions to strengthen the protection bylaw and make it more transparent.

I will be requesting that the city improve the public notice and consultation process around applications as well as develop a communications strategy to ensure the public knows on what grounds applications are approved or refused.

My aim is to break down the silos at city hall between the planning and forestry departments and ensure tree protection is considered as early as possible in development and planning applications.

I will be introducing these motions to the parks and environ-ment committee this month.

If you have suggestions on how we can improve tree protection, please feel free to email me at Councillor_Robinson@toronto.ca, or give me a call at 416-395-6408.