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Cumberland considers moving up tree bylaw in work plan

Council asks staff during financial plan discussion to look into making it a priority for 2022
Cumberland council wants to make a tree bylaw a higher priority in light of development pressures in the community. File photo

Cumberland is looking at moving up a planned tree bylaw by a year.

During a discussion on its financial plan at the Nov. 22 meeting, Coun. Jesse Ketler asked about the possibility of moving up the work from 2023 to 2022. She pointed out the estimated cost was $15,000.

“I really think this is something that deserves more attention,” she said.

The bylaw would look at developing a policy around tree retention, especially in light of current development demands in the community. The bylaw would help provide environmental protection measures.

“Having an urban tree bylaw now actually makes a big difference as far as climate mitigation,” she said.

The tree bylaw came up as part of an urban forest management plan for Cumberland.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland plan considers urban forest’s future

Ketler pointed to benefits such as shade and water retention resulting from tree cover. She also wanted to know about the possibility that any Restart funds from senior governments could be used to cover the costs of work on the bylaw, adding that the project should need only one-time funding.

She also said there has already been an enormous amount of development, with more expected, and that it makes more sense to have a bylaw in place before future development happens.

The issue for staff is they are in the midst of several other ambitious projects for the community in the coming year. This includes plans for transportation and for arts, recreation and culture. Chief administrative officer Clayton Postings said staff want to make sure they do things correctly.

Chief financial officer Michelle Mason added staff would have to add the project to the work plan for 2022.

The concern was this would be adding too much demand on staff time. As well, the initial cost estimate was based on the assumption work would take place the following year, so the expectation is moving the bylaw work to 2022 will raise the cost, manager of development service Courtney Simpson told council.

One suggestion was to “flip” another project with the tree protection bylaw. For now, staff will bring back a report to look at the ramifications for costs, staff time and other issues should council decide to move the tree protection bylaw up by a year.

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