LETTERS TO COUNCIL:

Letter to Council regarding the King Municipal Management Plan

June 13, 2022

To:  Mayor Pellegrini and Members of King Township Council

COM-PRK-2022-002DRAFT Municipal Tree Management Plan

Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT) is an active advocate for conserving King Township’s trees and forests and enhancing the tree canopy in both rural and urban areas of the Township.

We are pleased to see the King Municipal Tree Management Plan (TMP) come forward, and we commend King Council for recognizing and supporting the importance of growing King’s tree canopy.  We also commend King Township staff for collaborating in drafting this Plan and bringing it forward for approval and implementation.

CCKT notes a number of positive highlights in the Tree Management Plan:

  • Including a section detailing the many benefits of trees including their role in mitigating effects of climate change and extreme weather events such as flood mitigation, retaining moisture in the ground and cooling the air in extreme heat and drought events, providing for the well-being of people and a central role in contributing to healthy eco-systems.
  • Recognizing the high importance of protecting and managing Township trees in both rural and urban areas.
  • A commitment to replacing trees that need to be removed at 3:1 or higher depending on the DBH.
  • Actively planting additional trees along road allowances, in parks and on other municipal lands.
  • Including a list of native trees that are suitable for planting, and following the principle of including a diversity of species in plantings.
  • Emphasizing safety in this plan.
  • Bringing together the wise management of King’s municipal trees in one plan.
  • Engaging a qualified Township arborist in the implementation of this plan.

 

An Important Observation and Recommendation from CCKT

A majority of King Township’s trees and forests are found on private lands, and yet aside from York Region’s role in regulating and managing trees in woodlots and forests greater than 0.2 ha, the Township has virtually no role in managing trees on private lands outside of development applications and new subdivision plans.

Residents all over King Township witness and see the removal of healthy mature trees in both the urban and rural areas often changing the character of a street or neighbourhood.  This has a significant impact on the Township goal of increasing the tree canopy.  Science clearly shows that young replacement trees cannot do the “heavy lifting” and bring the level of benefit received from larger healthy trees. 

CCKT believes it is vital to protect and conserve the vast majority of mature trees on private lands in meeting the goal of growing the overall tree canopy for King.  We strongly recommend that King Township take action to establish suitable regulations for the protection and management of trees on private lands which will compliment the Township’s Tree Management Plan presented this evening. 

CCKT recognizes that there needs to be insightful community input from all sectors of the King community with a focus on achieving an effective approach and effective Private Tree Preservation Plan that will help ensure that King’s tree canopy grows in the coming years and decades.  As has been highlighted in earlier staff reports, a successful plan will very likely include a combination of education, tree maintenance and planting programs and regulations that are well-tailored to different parts of the Settlement Areas (urban) and the rural areas, including agricultural lands.

Closing

CCKT sees the King Municipal Tree Management Plan as an excellent step forward and hopes that this Plan, with its many positive features, will provide the basis for a more comprehensive Township-wide plan which will address the very evident need to protect and preserve mature trees on private lands.

Thank you for consideration of our comments.

Sincerely, J. Bruce Craig

Chair for Concerned Citizens of King Township