July 11, 2013
Mayor Hazel McCallion & Councillors
City of Mississauga
300 City Centre Drive
Mississauga, ON L5B 3C1
Re: Majestic Heritage Trees Fall Victim to Heedless Property Owner
Dear Madame Mayor & Council,
It is with shock and dismay that the Gordon Woods Homeowners Association (GWHA) writes to you regarding the cutting and removal of two healthy, 150 year old oak trees on the morning of June 26, 2013 at 2167 Gordon Drive, a property presently before City Planning under a development rezoning application (OZ 12-002 W7).
On April 2, 2013 the GWHA spoke before the Building and Planning Committee in opposition to this development proposal. Our primary concern was and is the substantial change in density proposed, requiring the removal of 65+ mature trees on a property that is in the heart of a neighborhood designated as residential woodland. When combined with the illegal clear-cutting of mature healthy trees on this property by the previous owner in 2011, a total of at least 90 trees would be lost.
On March 1, 2013 the amended Private Tree Protection By-law 0254-2012 came into effect. “The City of Mississauga is establishing a sustainable tree canopy through the implementation of new guidelines for tree removal on private property. The Private Tree Protection By-law (0254-2012) will protect and enhance Mississauga's existing tree cover while respecting a landowner's right to make changes to the landscape of their property in an environmentally responsible manner.”1
The new By-law has failed in this instance. Although a permit is now required to remove 3 or more trees per year with a diameter greater than 6”, the by-law does not address majestic, healthy “heritage” trees such as the two that were deliberately destroyed by the property owner. The city’s Tree Bylaw inspector reported that the two trees removed were healthy, over 150 years old, over 100 cm in diameter, and the two largest trees on the property. The fact that the (new!) tree by-law allows for cutting of two trees on private property per year, without a permit, without differentiating whether they are small saplings or massive heritage oaks like these, is a travesty.
We recall that during the General Council meeting on November 21, 2012, Madame Mayor McCallion instructed City Staff to go back and look at the single large tree within the By-law and how the heritage tree could be protected. To date, it appears that City Staff have done nothing with that instruction as large trees continue to disappear under the “legality” of the (new) By-law.
The (new) By-law also fails to effectively address properties under site plan, rezoning or development application review. Unless trees are dead, dying or hazardous, a moratorium should be placed on the trees on the property while under application. To help ensure that property owners/developers play by the rules, policies regarding fines and enforcement must form part of this By-law. The property owner/developer in this case was clearly aware of the city’s and the neighbourhood’s concern with tree loss, knew that his development was not approved, and yet proceeded to destroy the two most valuable trees on the property. This seems to be a clear indication of the property owner’s contempt for the planning process and blatant disregard/disrespect for the Gordon Woods neighbourhood, its rare qualities, infinite benefits and its citizens. Without proper by-laws and enforcement, the lure of maximizing financial gain will always trump environmental considerations in the eyes of a developer. Without sustainable, enforceable laws and by-laws to ensure adherence to the proper planning process, how does the city expect to control development? Indeed, given that all of the required examination of the property, including the potential aboriginal cultural significance has not been completed, how does one know that the “heritage trees” were not of cultural significance?
How is a tree bylaw that allows removal of huge, majestic, healthy trees without a permit consistent with the Urban Forest preservation and expansion strategies that the city is actively promoting? The ‘One Million Tree’ program and the ‘Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy’ (NHUFS), both building on existing urban forest preservation and upholding official plans, appear to be a bit of a joke without effective protection of what already exists. The Green Pillar for Change in the Strategic Plan identifies the need to conserve, enhance and connect natural environments in the City of Mississauga. Why worry about planting new, small trees when the existing mature, healthy urban woodlands can be cut down at will? The NHUFS claims that more than half of the city’s tree canopy cover is located in residential areas. If that’s so, isn’t that where the City should be focusing its efforts?
This is a travesty that cannot be undone. The consequences are far-reaching and long lasting. The wildlife and natural habitat that contributes to the woodland’s ecosystem will continue to erode and be displaced or destroyed. The City needs to step up to ensure that this property owner/developer and others like him cannot continue to cut trees until there is nothing left but a 50-storey condo proposal. It’s time to walk the talk.
We encourage the City to immediately address “heritage” trees that exist in the area, especially in Residential Forests and to ensure that we have a By-law that protects these diminishing City treasures.
Sharon Giraud, President
Don Stewart, Vice President
Andy Tafler, Vice President
On behalf of
Gordon Woods Homeowners’ Association
Hazel McCallion (Mayor) firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Tovey (Ward 1) email@example.com
Pat Mullin (Ward 2) firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Fonseca (Ward 3) email@example.com
Frank Dale (Ward 4) firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonnie Crombie (Ward 5) email@example.com
Ron Starr (Ward 6) firstname.lastname@example.org
Nando Iannicca (Ward 7) email@example.com
Katie Mahoney (Ward 8) firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat Saito (Ward 9) email@example.com
Sue McFadden (Ward 10) firstname.lastname@example.org
George Carlson (Ward 11) email@example.com
John Hardcastle (Planner) firstname.lastname@example.org
Aaron Schmidt (City Arborist) email@example.com
Gavin Longmuir (Urban Forestry Manager) Gavin.Longmuir@mississauga.ca
Jane Darragh (Senior Planner, Parks and Forestry) Jane.Darragh@mississauga.ca
Olav Sibille- Natural Heritage and Urban Forest – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessika Corkum-Gorrill (One Million Trees Project) Jessika.Corkum-Gorrill@mississauga.ca
Dr. A. Savin
Credit Valley Conservation email@example.com
Taylor Stone (Evergreen)firstname.lastname@example.org
Toronto and Region Conservation for the Living City email@example.com
Mississauga News (Managing editor; assignment editor, City Hall reporter)
Do you see trees being cut in Gordon Woods?
It is imperative that residents contact Councillor Iannicca's office at 905-896-5700 or Aaron Schmidt, the Private Property Tree Inspector for Mississauga at 905-615-3200 Ext. 5870.
Details such as time, date, address and contractor vehicle are very helpful. Photos or video would also add to the evidence in the event that fines are to be imposed.
Let's protect Gordon Woods together!
Private Tree Protection By-law - Now in Effect
Private Tree Protection By-law – Now in Effect
The City of Mississauga is committed to the enhancement and
protection of its urban forest, which is achieved through many programs in
support of the Strategic Plan and Living Green Master Plan. One such initiative
is the new Private Tree Protection By-law (0254-2012), which went into effect
on March 1st 2013.
The significant review process resulted in key changes,
based on input from multiple stakeholders which strengthened the previous
By-law. The new guidelines for tree removal on private property will help to
protect and enhance Mississauga’s existing tree cover, while respecting a landowner’s
right to make changes to the landscape of their property in an environmentally
Key changes within the By-law include:
- A permit now being required to remove three (3)
or more trees with a diameter greater than 15 cm (6 in) per calendar year where
previously a permit was required to remove five (5) or more trees with a
diameter greater than 15 cm (6 in) per calendar year;
- The new condition of an approved permit
requiring two (2) replacement trees to be planted for every healthy tree that
is removed with a diameter greater than 50 cm (20 in); and
- The title change to Private Tree Protection
By-law from Tree Permit By-law.
At the General Committee meeting on November 21st 2012, a deputation by MIRANET requested that the amended By-law include a permit provision to regulate single trees over 50 cm (20 in)
Throughout the development of the Private Tree Protection By-law, many
components of the previous Tree Permit By-law were reviewed, including the lack
of a provision to regulate the removal of single trees.
After careful review of this request, and given the fact that staff had
previously conducted a significant public engagement and education process
allowing for the amended By-law to be approved by Council, staff do not support
changing the By-law at this time.
City business units, members of the public, and over four
hundred private tree contractors, developers and builders have received
notification either by email, brochures, newspaper articles or Web updates
regarding the provisions of the new Private Tree Protection By-law and its
effective date of March 1st 2013. Staff will continue to provide
public awareness and educational programs that will assist in enlightening the
public as to the value of trees on private property.
The Forestry Business Unit will closely monitor all
aspects of the Private Tree Protection By-law throughout its first year of
implementation and will report back to Council in 2014 providing an update of
To view the new Private Tree Protection By-law in its
entirety please use the following link: http://www.mississauga.ca/file/COM/treeprotection.pdf
If you require any further information please contact Gavin
Longmuir, Forestry Manager.
Director, Parks and Forestry
City of Mississauga
Tree Permit By-Law (475-05) Proposed
Tree Protection By-Law Amendment GWHA Co[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [199.6 KB]
GWHA Tree Bylaw letter to Mayor and Coun[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [137.6 KB]
Parking at Harborn Road and Premium Way
From the Commissioner of Transportation and Works, City of Mississauga
Staff from Parking Enforcement
have inspected the area
in question and report that the east side of Premium Way has an unpaved gravel
shoulder which is designated as “No Parking” under the Traffic By-law
555-00. Signs that are currently mounted on the light standards have been
painted over by parties unknown, making them unreadable. Parking
Enforcement Officers have not been able to enforce for this reason.
On October 11, 2012 a request
from Parking Enforcement
to Traffic Operations was made to have the signage issue rectified.
Once the “No Parking” signs are replaced, Parking Enforcement Officers will
enforce accordingly and monitor the area thereafter. Parking
Enforcement Officers will be exercising their authority to issue
Provincial Offences Notices and remove vehicles found in
contravention of the Traffic By-law. Parking Enforcement staff will also
be providing notification to area residents and business owners regarding this
Compliance and Licensing
Enforcement staff have
contacted the Ministry of Transportation to seek their approval for
the City of Mississauga to proactively enforce parking restrictions on the
Ministry owned land adjacent to the boulevard in this area. Through
a previous complaint the area MLEO, working with the Ministry, was able to
get “No Trespassing” signage installed at this location. The MLEO will
continue to monitor this location on an ongoing basis to address any idling
issues that present themselves.
Mobile Licensing Enforcement
staff are also monitoring
the location for the presence of tow trucks that on occasion use this area as a
lay-by with easy access to the QEW. Staff from Mobile Licensing
Enforcement will be providing information to tow truck drivers observed in this
location and encouraging them to relocate. Until we are able to make
arrangements with the MTO for parking enforcement, Municipal Law Enforcement
Officers have no authority with tow truck drivers on the MTO property.
The City of Mississauga's Transportation and Works Department provides curbside/ditch Vacuum Leaf Pickup in the Gordon Woods area during the two weeks from October 29th to November 2nd, then again
during the two weeks from November 19th to November 23rd. The Vacuum Leaf Pickup service is available to residents in
heavily treed areas that are more than 30 years old. Timing may vary depending on weather conditions and quantity of leaves. This service helps to clear roadway drainage ditches and curbside storm drains, reducing the potential for flooding; residents are still encouraged to bag or mulch their own leaves and are advised to remove cars from the street during leaf collection times.