Tree-saving effort cut down

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By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A Chatham councillor’s bid to preserve Victoria Avenue trees slated for the chopping block has fallen flat.

At a recent council meeting, Michael Bondy asked his fellow councillors to support him in having municipal staff take a second look at 30 trees public works have determined should come down.

His motion failed 6-8.

“All I wanted was a second opinion,” Bondy said following the meeting. “I don’t understand it.”

The councillor’s motion sought to hire a local arborist with an emphasis on preservation to re-examine the trees that public works intends to cut down on the stately Chatham street.

The original motion also included trees on Erieau’s boulevard, but that portion was withdrawn as residents in the Lake Erie hamlet support the removal of what are mostly poplar or cottonwood trees.

The motion, which ended up being split into four parts, also sparked debate about whether or not the municipality is promptly replacing the trees it cuts down as per a municipal policy that was adopted in 2022.

Bondy, who lives on Victoria, said it’s not happening on his street.

“There’s the will to do this but maybe there’s not enough money,” he said. “It’s not where I’ve looked, just so we’re clear.”

According to public works director Ryan Brown, the assessment of trees on Victoria Avenue and Erieau – the only two locations studied – was a pro-active measure rather than the traditional reactive complaint-based approach to deal with trees.

Brown said staff spent a great deal of time cleaning up trees on Victoria after last summer’s ferocious wind storm.

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