Draft Fredericton bylaw would help protect trees from developers, insects, other threats
Goal is to preserve city’s urban forest, according to a staff report to council
Fredericton council is considering a tree bylaw that would help protect the city's trees from development, insect infections, disease and vandalism.
Parks and trees staff presented a draft bylaw to council this week, outlining procedures for the maintenance, removal, replacement and protection of trees on city property.
The bylaw would also apply to trees on private property that impact city operations.
Mike Glynn, a forester with the City of Fredericton, said if passed, this would be the city's first bylaw created specifically for trees. The bylaw would also give people information on what they can and can't do within the city's forest space.
"It's also going to give the city a better mechanism to manage and preserve our forest while at the same time, better position us to address future insect and disease problems," Glynn said.
For the last several years, Fredericton has been monitoring the emerald ash borer, a beetle that has devastated tree populations across Canada. Fredericton is home to thousands of ash trees that are vulnerable to the invasive beetle.
"Emerald ash borer is just down the street in Oromocto, so we need something that's going to give us a tool or mechanism to let us deal with potential issues related to the ash management," Glynn said.
The city plans to produce a report this winter outlining a plan for how to deal with the invasive species. The tree protection bylaw would work in concert with existing and future strategies to deal with insect infections and disease.
Besides the emerald ash borer, city trees endure other "repetitive sources of damage," according to a report to council.
These include construction activity, unauthorized removal of trees, improper pruning by residents, development and vandalism.
Caught damaging a tree? You'll be fined
Planting trees on city property, attaching electrical cords, lights or other items to city trees would be prohibited under the bylaw. Fines for damaging trees would range between $75 to $125, but Glynn said they'll vary depending on the tree.
"When we're dealing with mature well-established trees, depending on the condition, depending on the location, depending on the species, you can be talking considerable amounts of money."
Staff with the city's parks and trees division will investigate damage to trees and dole out fines when applicable.
The proposed bylaw also stipulates that council can adopt programs and policies as may be necessary to maintain the health and vitality of trees.
Glynn said the parks and trees division has been developing the bylaw for "a long time" and decided to propose it at Monday night's council meeting because December is a slower time of year for the division.
With files from Information Morning Fredericton