It appears that another giant Maple tree is about to be lost. This one is on the north side of Palmerston Street abutting the properties owned by Doug Huber and Sandra Etherington.
According to Doug Huber’s daughter, Diane, a former Saugeen Shores Vice-Deputy Mayor, the tree is in the neighbourhood of 100 years old. “The tree has lived through sewer and water project on this street as well as sidewalk construction and reconstructions,” says Huber. “It is very much a neighbourhood character tree, a significant friend to wildlife in this area, a cooling factor on the asphalt and concrete during the summer and is the only substantial ‘heritage tree’ left on this side of Palmerson Street. When I was growing up on this street it was lined on both sides with these beautiful trees so, when does it stop?”
There are, in fact, four methods of dealing with the tree:
A (keep the tree)
B (slice off a big chunk of it that projects over the sidewalk)
C (total removal) which appears to be the one the town favours
There is however, an option D – and it stands for drilling horizontally under the roots of the tree. Apparently the cost of option D would add an addition $19,00 to the already approved contractor’s proposal.
“I am aware that there needs to be control of costs but, from my considerable years in office, I also know that there is a limited contingency fund for every project and I would like some of that fund to be used to protect this valuable tree for our heritage in Southampton,” says Huber. “I would also be willing to contribute $10,000, or possibly more, toward option D which is more than 50 per cent of what I was told.”
Ontario Bill 68, titled Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, 2016, relates to the requirement for all municipalities to adopt and maintain policies to protect and enhance the tree canopy and natural vegetation within their communities. As proclaimed by the Lieutenant Governor, Ontario municipalities had until March 1, 2019, to adopt such policies. An amendment to Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001, has the effect of requiring all municipalities to adopt and maintain policies with respect to the protection and enhancement of the tree canopy and natural vegetation in the municipality.
In the Town of The Blue Mountains for instance, there are currently four policy tools in place pertaining to the protection and preservation of the tree canopy within the municipality:
• The Town of The Blue Mountains Official Plan, 2016;
• Town of The Blue Mountains Sustainable Path, 2010;
• The Town of The Blue Mountains Tree Preservation By-law, 2010-68; and
• County of Grey Forest Management By-law, By-law No. 4341-06.
The By-laws require reimbursement, in the form of new trees or financial compensation, for all healthy trees proposed to be removed in development applications, based on the findings of a Tree Inventory and Preservation Plan; and
to encourage tree planting by local residents and organizations, and educate residents
about the benefits of planting trees on their property and the environmental impact
of removing trees.
In Saugeen Shores, the Municipal Heritage Committee in fact initiated the ‘Tree of Significance’ program to recognize that, “throughout Saugeen Shores, there are many trees that stand out in the community as cultural and natural assets. This program commemorates trees that enhance the landscape, represent events or celebrations in our past, or carry special meaning to the community.”
It would appear that this tree and others like it meet that criteria. Will our future generations be like those in the Joni Mitchell song … “They took away all the trees and put ’em in a tree museum and charged the people a dollar and half just to see ’em”?