Latest Event Updates
Dear Oakvillegreen members and supporters,
Look up and you’ll notice that Oakville’s 2 million odd trees have just begun leafing out. However, this spring our hard-working urban trees are getting some much needed attention for a very different reason.
Town Council has just adopted an updated Private Tree Protection Bylaw (see more information on Town website here). At Oakvillegreen Conservation Association we are applauding this added layer of protection and congratulating town staff and Council for their leadership in preserving our urban forest.
As residents we derive many benefits from having a robust tree population, and we also shoulder a large share of the responsibility for protecting trees. Oakville’s trees perform environmental services whose combined annual value is equivalent to $2.93 million. The benefits derived from urban trees, including shade, carbon sequestration, flood prevention, biodiversity, and health benefits for humans, accrue to us all. Also, because a lot of the land in Oakville is in the hands of private property owners and more than half of our current urban forest canopy cover (57%) is on private land, Oakville residents are the direct stewards of an immensely valuable community asset.
Unfortunately, under the notification provisions of the previous tree bylaw, we saw a steady loss of healthy trees with very little replanting or compensation. In the past 8 years, based on Notification Forms received by the town, more than 435,000 square meters of Oakville’s total healthy tree canopy was removed on private property. This is equal to 107 acres or 43 hectares of healthy tree canopy lost since 2009!
A healthy urban forest requires replanting, stewardship and conservation in equal measure. Planting native trees is something Oakvillegreen Conservation Association has been doing and will continue to do. Over the last 13 years, Oakvillegreen and our volunteers and partners have planted over 20,000 trees in our community.
We are encouraged that the updated private tree protection bylaw is now in place to also help us protect our current tree canopy. The updated bylaw allows town arborists to advise landowners about other options for tree care, to permit tree removals when they are justified, and to ensure that canopy cover lost due to approved removals is replaced. Reasonable exemptions identified in the bylaw ensure landowners continue to have some flexibility.
We look forward to working with residents to continue to protect and enhance our urban forest!
Show your support for the Proposed Private Tree Bylaw today!
Council will vote Monday May 1st on whether to adopt the updated private tree bylaw. Please show your support!
- Send a note to your Councillor by April 30th, to say you support the updated private tree bylaw. Email Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the links here to connect with the Mayor and individual Members of Council.
- Attend the Council meeting on May 1st in person, to show you care about preserving healthy trees in Oakville. DETAILS: MAY 1st 7pm, Council Chambers, Town Hall, 1225 Trafalgar Rd.
- Please consider sharing your support for the updated bylaw by submitting written comments to Council or registering to speak at the meeting. Delegations to Council meetings must be registered with the Clerk’s department no later than noon on May 1st. Email: email@example.com to submit your comments or let them know you wish to speak or make a presentation.
A staff report and text of the proposed bylaw were presented on April 24th to the Community Services Committee. The agenda and staff reports can be found here.
Oakvillegreen has long advocated for substantive changes to our current ineffective private tree bylaw and many of you have joined us over the past 3+ years in making this case to staff and council.
Our main concern has been the steady removal of healthy trees without any form of compensation through the current Notification Form process. Based on Notification Forms received by the town, more than 435,000 sqm or 43 ha (107 acres) of Oakville’s healthy tree canopy has been lost since 2009. Staff have also reported that there has been a doubling of tree removals in the first four months of 2017 compared to previous years.
We’ve reviewed the proposed updated bylaw and are pleased with all the recent changes, especially the public signage required for permits, the revised definition of ‘emergency work’ and emergency work exemptions, as well as the regulated tree size (15 cm dbh), the removal of the notification process completely, and the compensation requirements and permit fees. The additional staff required to support the bylaw and inspect trees prior to permitting was approved as part of the 2017 budget.
We cannot have any further delay!
We hope you’ll join us in making a strong show of support for the swift adoption of the updated Private Tree Bylaw by Council on May 1st!
You can find our previous comments on the current private tree bylaw here.
Oakville Celebrates Earth Day with Over 100 Volunteers Planting Trees
Over 100 volunteers dug in at a tree planting event at Nipigon Trail & Pelee Woods to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday April 22nd, 2017. Oakvillegreen Conservation Association hosted the event, in partnership with the Town of Oakville. Volunteers from community groups such as the Cub Scouts (1st Trafalgar), the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton, and the Oakville Newcomers Club, along with many families and individuals, joined in to help plant a total of 840 native trees.
Nipigon Trail and Pelee Woods are part of the Town of Oakville’s Woodland Hazards Abatement Program to manage woodlands affected by the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. The trees that were planted along the trail by volunteers contribute to an ongoing effort to help regenerate forest biodiversity and keep the invasive common buckthorn (Ramnus cathartica) at bay. Common buckthorn is a highly invasive shrub that has become a prominent part of Oakville’s urban landscape. Known for its ability to out-compete native plants and degrade wildlife habitat, this tree is classified as a noxious weed under Ontario’s Weed Control Act.
Oakvillegreen will host another tree planting event on June 17th at Millstone Park, off Pine Glen Rd., from 10am -12noon. You can find more about all our upcoming events here.
Oakvillegreen’s volunteer tree planting and stewardship programs are funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. As the leading grantmaking foundation in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities.