Budget committee approves new staff hires to help tree protection bylaw
Sept. 5, 2017
Toronto city councillors supported the extension of six temporary positions during the Budget Committee meeting on Tuesday morning.
Jason Doyle, director of Urban Forestry, confirmed that the positions, which started in the winter, were already extended this past July.
The item at committee came with a request for the creation of seven permanent full-time positions that focus on tree protection enforcement under the municipal tree protection bylaws to be approved next winter as part of the 2018 Operating Budget.
At the committee meeting, Councillor Shelley Carroll supported the item, calling the issue of staff resources “newsworthy” in the north part of the city, and citing Councillor Jaye Robinson’s Ward 25, Don Valley West, as the “superstar problem area” because of the many large site developments where conditions aren’t being met.
“It’s those… let’s say it – monster home areas where it’s really only a single family dwelling site, but our staff need to spend so much time with someone who’s just decided they’re going to be noncompliant from the get go.”
Councillor John Campbell asked about the promise of the 72-hour response time. “That seems quicker than is necessary,” Campbell said.
“When a permit is issued, it’s conditioned on certain requirements. If there’s a breakdown in those requirements, the neighbours around are impacted, but specifically the tree itself,” Doyle said explaining time is of the essence.
“If you put a big load of soil up and it’s compacting the soil, it’s restricting the oxygen levels – it has a significant impact on the tree. Sometimes construction damage takes four years to recognize the impact it’s had on the tree. So the science behind it suggests that we need to respond in an adequate amount of time, otherwise the whole purpose of the private tree bylaw, the street tree bylaw, is redundant if you can’t enforce the requirements set to protect the health of the tree.”