Yesterday, another old tree bites the dust in Beechwood Crescent.

Gone but not forgotten

This time it is a Sugar Maple somewhere between 100-125 years old.

A few weeks ago I wander along Beechwood Crescent and learn the extensive tree canopy produces its own wonderful micro climate. One resident tells me his air conditioning goes on for a handful of days every year. For the rest of the time, the trees provide natural air conditioning.

So it is very sad news that such a majestic and healthy old tree with its huge green leafy canopy should fall to the chainsaw.

An application to redevelop the lot and build a new house has been approved by the Town but residents resisted the application because century old trees would be affected. I am told by people who know about these things that the proposed new house could have been slightly realigned, allowing the trees to remain undisturbed. But that didn’t happen. Probably too much hassle.

The photos show the tree (in front of the white wooden outhouse with the red door) in July and the empty space today where it once lived and breathed, minding its own business.

As it happens, the Town of Newmarket is now asking us what we think of trees and what we should be doing to protect trees on private property. The Town’s website tells us:

“Trees are a valuable asset to us as individuals but also to the whole community at large. As Newmarket grows it is important to help keep as many trees as possible. We would especially like to keep mature trees since they provide the most benefits and have the most value. Please join this discussion on the value mature trees and how a tree on your property contributes benefits to all of Newmarket. Feel free to share your opinions on the value of trees in Newmarket and how trees can best serve the Newmarket community.

We want to know: What is the best way to protect trees on private property?”  

Not a trace left behind

I am tempted to say: 

“If you want to protect trees it is probably not a good idea to chop them down.”

But perhaps that's too glib.

Seems to me that if a tree is mature and healthy we should bend over backwards to keep it. If it is significant (definition to follow) it should be protected. 

Of course, many builders and developers feel threatened by trees. They can get in the way of plans to redevelop.

If so they’ve gotta go. Just ask Norm “Chainsaw” Stapley who left his own unique and indelible mark on Beechwood Crescent.

The very feature that makes Beechwood Crescent so visually and environmentally attractive is being casually destroyed.

In any event the deed is now done.

And, in the way of these things, the Town is now consulting the public on how best to save trees on private property. An Information Report presented to councillors on 22 August 2018 tells them:

Tree Cutting By-law – Council have directed staff to prepare a by-law regulating and protecting significant trees on private property. Consultation for the project is currently underway. Feedback is being garnered from residents through the HeyNewmarket website. In the late fall/early winter staff will undertake a phone survey similar to that which was done for the recreational vehicle parking zoning by-law amendment. In Q1 of 2019, staff will consolidate the feedback and report to Council providing options on how to protect trees on private property. 

Will participating in this survey make a blind bit of difference?

Who knows? 

But since trees can’t answer phone surveys or fill in questionnaires we who can should do so on their behalf.

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