The fate of a dozen tamarack trees dominated discussion at Thunder Bay city council’s meeting on Monday evening.

As councillors passed the second reading of the Urban Forest Master Plan, they talked about a group of trees that sit on a city-owned easement.

About three years ago, the Johnson family on Mohawk Cresent wanted the city to do something about the tamarack trees behind their house that buffer noise from the Thunder Bay Expressway.


Thunder Bay parks manager Paul Fayrick says the city should not cut down a tree just because a homeowner complains. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

At the time, the tamarack needles were ruining the roof on their home, the family said.

The city has already cut down about 10 trees to deal with the problem, and parks manager Paul Fayrick said the city should not cut down a tree just because a homeowner complains.

"If we deal with trees from the perspective of being a nuisance .. [instead of from a] risk management, liability perspective, then every tree that's a nuisance is then subject to ... somebody wanting to take it down," he said.

Councillor Andrew Foulds said the city has to be careful about when it sides with a complaint.

"What kind of precedence are we setting in terms of having to take down ... [a tree, based on] a relatively subjective criteria on what is a nuisance?"

Darrell Matson, the manger of infrastructure and operations, reminded council that consultants told the city not to cut down the trees.

"The decision actually rests with council," he said.

"So, if there's 3 or 4 trees that need to be removed, then administration would seek direction from city council to remove them."

Council's final decision was to let the Johnsons make their case again at city hall if they want more tamaracks to come down.