Fort Erie strengthens tree protection bylaw

During a council-in-committee meeting on February 12, 2024, councillors voted in favour of a report recommending updates to the existing Town of Fort Erie tree bylaw.

Those updates took effect last Monday with council approving a new bylaw (33-2024) aimed at protecting trees and preserving the area’s tree canopy.

The updated regulations address issues such as tree removal prior to planning approval and the impact of invasive species.

“The new, updated bylaw…improves on the previous version by increasing protective measures, reducing unnecessary tree removals, requiring replanting obligations and protects a much larger range of properties,” said Chris McQueen, Chief Administrative Officer.

Mayor Wayne Redekop added that the bylaw “affirms council’s commitment to protecting and preserving our natural heritage for this and future generations.”

The Town emphasized the environmental and economic benefits of maintaining a healthy tree canopy. Trees provide shade, reduce energy consumption, stabilize soil, capture carbon dioxide, support wildlife, and contribute to residents’ well-being.

The new bylaw specifically protects:

  • Urban area trees with a diameter of 30 cm or greater.
  • Designated heritage trees or trees within natural heritage areas.
  • Trees on properties with pending applications.
  • Trees on properties where pre-consultation with the Town has occurred.
  • Trees identified in a tree preservation plan.
  • Replacement trees.
  • All public trees.

Property owners now require a permit to remove trees covered by the bylaw. Violations can result in administrative penalties or orders to cease tree removal activities.

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