After meetings with two groups of activist citizens--a dozen from BIG TREES of Kitchissippi and 20 reps from the city-wide Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability (CAFES)--we are pleased to provide residents of Ottawa with a comprehensive set of recommendations (PDF will load) to amend the urban tree conservation by-law.
Why should you care about this? And how does it relate to the 2018 municipal election?
* The loss of mature trees on our streets and in backyards has reached crisis proportions. The 2009 by-law that aimed to "conserve" distinctive trees on private property has failed to live up to its name. That's one of the things we think needs to change--the by-law's very name!
* As a citizen of Ottawa, do you concur that the loss of mature trees in the urban core constitutes a health and an environmental crisis? Trees breathe for us, and they are working 24/7 to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Why don't city politicians and staff value trees by ensuring their protection? How can we put this health and environmental crisis front-and-centre in the 2018 municipal election? Where and when will we raise hell so that city staff and politicians can't ignore this dual crisis any longer?
One of the places ripe for citizen action is the city's own review process of the tree by-law that applies to distinctive trees on private property. It is now underway and your voice counts.
What can you do?
Read the recommendations document (see link above).
Share your views about the recommendations using the comments section below.
Circulate the recommendations and this URL in your networks, especially if you belong to a community association in the urban core, are a patron of a community health centre, or are working on climate action in the city.
Tell your City Councillor and the Mayor of Ottawa that you support these recommendations and want them implemented sooner than later because this crisis deserves their immediate attention.
If enough people take these initial actions in support of changes to the by-law, by September we'll be ready to launch Phase 2 of a larger tree defense campaign. Municipal election day is October 22.