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  • Newmarket commits to protecting its tree canopy with the approval of the Private Tree Protection By-law

    Created: Thursday, February 10, 2022

    Town of Newmarket Council has officially approved its Private Tree Protection By-law that will require property owners to obtain a private tree removal permit from the Town if they wish to remove a tree from their property that is greater than 20 centimetres in diameter, measured at 1.4m/140 cm from the ground. Property owners will be subject to a fine if trees are removed, destroyed or injured without a permit. When a tree on private property is approved for removal, the property owner will have the option to replace the tree with new plantings, or pay cash-in-lieu to the Town. There are no fees for trees that are dead, dying, or hazardous, however a permit must still be obtained to remove the tree. The Private Tree Protection By-law comes is now in effect. 

     

    “Trees are a valuable asset and provide many environmental benefits to our community regardless of the property they are on. To quantify this in economic terms, the replacement value of a Newmarket’s trees exceeds $350,000,000,” says Mayor John Taylor. “With this By-law in effect, we are hoping to start a conversation with property owners about the importance of mature trees and hopefully deter them from removing mature trees from their property in order to continue to expand Newmarket’s tree canopy and fostering Council’s priority in Environmental Stewardship.”

     

    Why is the Town implementing a Private Tree Protection By-law?

    Trees are a capital asset and provide many environmental benefits such as removing air pollution, providing shelter and food for animals, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing erosion and more. It is estimated that trees:

    • Help avoid more than 200,000 cubic meters of water runoff each year  

    • Reduce residential energy costs by more than $3,000,000 per year

    • Remove 40 tonnes of air pollution per year and store 35,345 tonnes of carbon (approx. cost $249,000)

    The protection of trees is also in line with Council’s Strategy Priority, Environmental Stewardship which includes implementing a Private Tree Protection By-law. Newmarket also officially declared a climate emergency in 2020 to pledge its commitment to protecting the environment and ensuring decisions on municipal planning, development and operations will be viewed through the lens of a climate crisis. With a Private Tree Protection By-law in place, the Town can further protect its tree canopy as noted in the Town’s Urban Forestry Plan, and use trees to aid and mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

     

    Who is this By-law meant for?

    The Private Tree Protection By-law will provide direction to property owners who are looking to remove trees on their property that have trunks over 20cm in diameter (measured at 1.4m/140cm from the ground) in the Town of Newmarket.

     

    How will the By-law work?

    Property owners who are looking to remove a tree on their property with a trunk that is 20cm wide or greater (measured at 1.4m/140cm from the ground) will apply for a tree removal permit. An administration fee for the permit will be based on the number of trees the property owner is looking to remove, in addition there is a review fee (per tree), and a tree compensation amount (if the resident chooses not to replant new trees) and in some instances a deposit (securities to protect other trees on the property) could be required. The compensation amount will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the Town. There is no fee to remove dead, dying, or hazardous trees, and while the administration fee is waived for trees causing property damage, property owners must still apply for a tree removal permit in all instances.


    Please note that all fees and charges associated with the Tree Removal Permit are waived until July 2022, however an application for a permit must still be applied for.

    Generally, once an application has been received, the Town’s arborist will work with the property owner to assess the desire to remove the tree, offer alternatives and provide an estimate on the compensation cost if the tree is removed and not replaced. The compensation cost will depend on the reasoning for removal and the replanting value of the tree. There is no fee to remove dead, dying, or hazardous trees, and while the administration fee is waived for trees causing property damage, property owners must still apply for a tree removal permit in all instances.

    The implementation of the Private Tree Protection By-law and the application process will allow the Town to review the need to remove the tree and to protect Newmarket’s tree canopy. Once the tree removal permit is issued, the applicant will have one year from the permit issue date to remove the tree and replant any tree(s). If the property owner chooses not to replant new trees, the compensation amount has to be paid at the time of, and as a condition of issuance of the permit. Funds collected from the Private Tree Protection By-law application will be used to cover the costs of administering the application process. Funds collected as cash-in-lieu for replanting compensation trees will establish a reserve fund to plant new trees and invest in programs related to expanding the Town’s tree canopy.

    To learn more about the Private Tree Protection By-law, please visit newmarket.ca/privatetreeremoval