City seeks feedback on bylaw to regulate privately owned trees

Journal Staff

Sarnia is preparing to bring in a tree bylaw, and residents have several ways to weigh in.

Input for the controversial proposal is being gathered by city staff through public consultations, focus groups and the municipal planning website.

Though Lambton County has a bylaw that covers trees in bushlots of one hectare or larger, nothing currently exists to protect individual trees or smaller lots within the city.

Some residents are eager for City Hall to bring in rules to save trees from being destroyed on private property and to help expand the urban tree canopy.

Others say telling homeowners what they can do with their own trees is an infringement on private property rights.

Residents can provide feedback through a questionnaire available on the city’s planning website at www.planning.smartsarnia.com until July 13.

Two staff-run consultation meetings are scheduled for June 21 at City Hall, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and again from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Written input is also welcome by emailing tree@sarnia.ca.

On June 26, a focus group is scheduled for members of the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce at 556 Christina St. North.

Other focus groups are planned for tree experts, builders and developers, and representatives of agricultural and conservation groups in coming weeks, though no dates are set.

Meeting times will be available at Sarnia’s planning website.

Information gathered in the consultation phase will be compiled in a report and presented to city council on July 31.