Hamilton harmonizes penalties for illegal tree cutting

News May 19, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

After nearly 17 years of separate tree protection bylaw penalties, Hamilton politicians agreed to have one bylaw that establishes the enforcement provisions for the entire city.

At their May 16 meeting, planning committee members agreed to harmonize the penalty portion of the tree protection bylaws of Stoney Creek, Ancaster, Dundas and the former Hamilton-Wentworth Region. The former municipalities of Glanbrook and Flamborough did not have tree protection bylaws.

“We are merely trying to harmonize the penalty section for all these (bylaws),” said Robert Ustrzycki, senior project manager for the city’s bylaw office.

Under the unified bylaw, a fine for an individual for cutting down a tree will result in a $10,000 fine or $1,000 per tree, whichever is greater. Subsequent convictions will result in a fine of $25,000 or $2,500 per tree, whichever is greater.

For a corporation, the fine for a first offense will be $50,000 or $5,000 per tree, and a subsequent conviction will be $100,000 or $10,000 per tree.

He said in Stoney Creek the fine was $10,000 per person and $20,000 for a corporation, while Dundas and Ancaster’s bylaws enforcement was under the Provincial Offences Act that established a $5,000 fine. The region’s woodland conservation bylaw had a maximum penalty of $10,000, and three months in jail. The prison term is now obsolete, said Ustrzycki.

Planning staff also pointed out under the regional bylaw, it “does not clearly set out the four possible offences and has made enforcement problematic.”

Hamilton already approved the Hamilton Urban Woodland Conservation bylaw and the public tree protection bylaw.

Ustrzycki said under the harmonized bylaw it will mean a person in Stoney Creek will face the same enforcement penalty as a person in Dundas.

Hamilton has seen clear cutting tree incidents across the city from Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Flamborough, on the mountain and even in downtown Hamilton. The latest incident occurred in March when a group of Norway maples in a protected woodlot were chopped down on a patch of land on Scenic Drive off Sanatorium Road.

Councillors have asked staff to investigate whether the city can license businesses that cut down trees.

“We can hopefully stop the damage before it actually gets down because (pulling the licence) could be a deterrent,” said Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead.

Hamilton harmonizes penalties for illegal tree cutting

News May 19, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

After nearly 17 years of separate tree protection bylaw penalties, Hamilton politicians agreed to have one bylaw that establishes the enforcement provisions for the entire city.

At their May 16 meeting, planning committee members agreed to harmonize the penalty portion of the tree protection bylaws of Stoney Creek, Ancaster, Dundas and the former Hamilton-Wentworth Region. The former municipalities of Glanbrook and Flamborough did not have tree protection bylaws.

“We are merely trying to harmonize the penalty section for all these (bylaws),” said Robert Ustrzycki, senior project manager for the city’s bylaw office.

Under the unified bylaw, a fine for an individual for cutting down a tree will result in a $10,000 fine or $1,000 per tree, whichever is greater. Subsequent convictions will result in a fine of $25,000 or $2,500 per tree, whichever is greater.

For a corporation, the fine for a first offense will be $50,000 or $5,000 per tree, and a subsequent conviction will be $100,000 or $10,000 per tree.

He said in Stoney Creek the fine was $10,000 per person and $20,000 for a corporation, while Dundas and Ancaster’s bylaws enforcement was under the Provincial Offences Act that established a $5,000 fine. The region’s woodland conservation bylaw had a maximum penalty of $10,000, and three months in jail. The prison term is now obsolete, said Ustrzycki.

Planning staff also pointed out under the regional bylaw, it “does not clearly set out the four possible offences and has made enforcement problematic.”

Hamilton already approved the Hamilton Urban Woodland Conservation bylaw and the public tree protection bylaw.

Ustrzycki said under the harmonized bylaw it will mean a person in Stoney Creek will face the same enforcement penalty as a person in Dundas.

Hamilton has seen clear cutting tree incidents across the city from Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Flamborough, on the mountain and even in downtown Hamilton. The latest incident occurred in March when a group of Norway maples in a protected woodlot were chopped down on a patch of land on Scenic Drive off Sanatorium Road.

Councillors have asked staff to investigate whether the city can license businesses that cut down trees.

“We can hopefully stop the damage before it actually gets down because (pulling the licence) could be a deterrent,” said Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead.

Hamilton harmonizes penalties for illegal tree cutting

News May 19, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

After nearly 17 years of separate tree protection bylaw penalties, Hamilton politicians agreed to have one bylaw that establishes the enforcement provisions for the entire city.

At their May 16 meeting, planning committee members agreed to harmonize the penalty portion of the tree protection bylaws of Stoney Creek, Ancaster, Dundas and the former Hamilton-Wentworth Region. The former municipalities of Glanbrook and Flamborough did not have tree protection bylaws.

“We are merely trying to harmonize the penalty section for all these (bylaws),” said Robert Ustrzycki, senior project manager for the city’s bylaw office.

Under the unified bylaw, a fine for an individual for cutting down a tree will result in a $10,000 fine or $1,000 per tree, whichever is greater. Subsequent convictions will result in a fine of $25,000 or $2,500 per tree, whichever is greater.

For a corporation, the fine for a first offense will be $50,000 or $5,000 per tree, and a subsequent conviction will be $100,000 or $10,000 per tree.

He said in Stoney Creek the fine was $10,000 per person and $20,000 for a corporation, while Dundas and Ancaster’s bylaws enforcement was under the Provincial Offences Act that established a $5,000 fine. The region’s woodland conservation bylaw had a maximum penalty of $10,000, and three months in jail. The prison term is now obsolete, said Ustrzycki.

Planning staff also pointed out under the regional bylaw, it “does not clearly set out the four possible offences and has made enforcement problematic.”

Hamilton already approved the Hamilton Urban Woodland Conservation bylaw and the public tree protection bylaw.

Ustrzycki said under the harmonized bylaw it will mean a person in Stoney Creek will face the same enforcement penalty as a person in Dundas.

Hamilton has seen clear cutting tree incidents across the city from Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Flamborough, on the mountain and even in downtown Hamilton. The latest incident occurred in March when a group of Norway maples in a protected woodlot were chopped down on a patch of land on Scenic Drive off Sanatorium Road.

Councillors have asked staff to investigate whether the city can license businesses that cut down trees.

“We can hopefully stop the damage before it actually gets down because (pulling the licence) could be a deterrent,” said Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead.