That which makes Hamilton, Ontario such a geographically rich city was being destroyed. A group of residents noticed once it started happening in their own backyard. Unhappy with what was the by-law at the time, one that didn’t fully and properly protect urban forests, they got to work and set out to get things changed – before it was too late.
Slowly, but surely, the urban forests in Hamilton, Ontario were being chipped away at a steady pace.
ALL forests in this city were at risk of eventually being razed in the name of “development” and profit. Action needed to be taken to put into place better rules and thoughtful planning guidelines that would protect the natural assets of the city. These forests are an important part of an ecosystem that is vital to the health and well-being of every living being in the city, man and beast.
It is very important we protect these natural heritage assets. The legacy left by T.B. McQuesten, one that other municipalities looked to for improving their own cities, was being battered and obliterated by incessant, ruthless development.
None of us want by-laws that are so restrictive that we can’t cut down a few trees on our property as needed. But the purchase of land for development, which contains these forests – important environmental assets to our city – needs to come with some restrictions. The few remaining remnants of forests within the city limits, need to be protected.
Under the by-law that was in effect before the change in 2014, a developer could purchase land, and cut down trees that are over a certain diameter, under the premise of “logging” or harvesting. He did not need permission, only needed to file a notice of intent to cut. There was nothing anyone can do to stop them. Then as they are bulldozing those larger trees, the smaller ones which are in the way silently fall, too.
None of those remaining forests in our urban landscape are of substantial enough size for true, responsible logging, but they are certainly of very significant size for the flora, fauna and ecosystem they support. Reduction in size of these urban forests should not be permitted. As our city grows, expanding into farmland, any forests present must retain a minimum set size.
The science of trees tells us that they dramatically improve environmental quality. They clean the air of our city, removing tons of carbon and pollution yearly. Residents, organizations, businesses, developers, architects and urban planners; municipal, provincial and federal agencies, should all be making the preservation of these urban woodlots a priority. We all have something to gain from that: quality of life, health and nature. Basic needs don’t get much more basic than that.
Urban Forest Benefits:
- Improved Air Quality
- Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Improved Wildlife Habitat
- Stormwater Management
- Noise Abatement
- Increased Psychological Well Being
- Improved Energy Conservation
- Increased Property Values
Call or email your city councilor now, make sure they know where you stand.
It is our hope to inform, provide resources, inspire dialogue, and hopefully champion real change that will protect the beautiful city all Hamiltonians know.
Share this site with everyone you know.
Please contact us to get involved, we need help to protect this beautiful city.
hamiltonurbanforests [at] gmail [dot] com