Monday, May 20th, 2024

No more tree veto: Hamilton will no longer ask permission to plant street trees near homes

Psst! Hamilton has a free street tree offer that you cannot refuse — literally.

For years, the city’s “street tree” program has allowed urban residents to request a young tree and have it planted, free of charge, in front of or beside their homes within the municipally owned right-of-way.

It’s a popular program, attracting up to 1,500 requests annually. The city also proactively replaces dead street trees and plants in identified “gaps” in an effort to green shade-starved boulevards.

But until now, the city also routinely axed planting plans if nearby homeowners opposed adding a tree — maybe over concerns about root growth, a shaded garden or even raking leaves.

“In the past, we would say, ‘OK, we’ll just move on and look elsewhere,’” said environmental services director Cynthia Graham. “Now, we will definitely try to work with residents to alleviate their concerns, but we are still going to plant that tree … because it is on city property.”

Tree “denials” by residents have historically prevented hundreds of planned street tree plantings a year, according to a new report to council — with as many as 348 in 2021 and as few as... [READ MORE]

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