Thunder Bay councillors have made the final decision to cut down a stand of tamarack trees, despite a public outcry to preserve them.

In a split vote Monday night, city council ratified its original decision earlier this month to axe the trees on Mohawk Crescent and replace them with evergreens.

How city council voted

Yes (in favour of removing the trees):

  • Mayor Keith Hobbs
  • Iain Angus
  • Mark Bentz
  • Larry Hebert
  • Brian McKinnon
  • Linda Rydholm
  • Joe Virdiramo

No:

  • Ken Boshcoff
  • Andrew Foulds
  • Trevor Giertuga
  • Rebecca Johnson
  • Paul Pugh
  • Aldo Ruberto

The trees first came to the city’s attention seven years ago, when an elderly man living on the street complained that tamarack needles were damaging his roof. He first approached the city’s parks department, which denied his request to cut down the trees, so instead the man went to city council.

The issue sparked public debate and criticism, prompting the homeowner to withdraw his request last week, according to Northwood Coun. Mark Bentz.

Setting a precedent

Coun. Trevor Giertuga says Monday’s decision might encourage other homeowners to complain about so-called “nuisance trees.”

“I think that's a dangerous precedent that we're getting set into,” he said. “We're making a decision that completely goes against our tree bylaw."

But Coun. Iain Angus says that with the amount of discussion on websites and blogs triggered by the resident’s request, he doubts that most people will try to go down the same road.

Thunder Bay council trees

Coun. Trevor Giertuga, right, said at a council vote Monday night that cutting down the tamaracks acts a dangerous precedent. (Adam Burns/CBC)

“If this is the precedent we're worried about — that it takes seven years to make a decision about whether they're nuisance trees or not nuisance trees — I don't think we have to worry, folks," Angus said.

The 11 tamaracks will be replaced by the city with white spruce trees, at a cost of about $8,500.