Wychwood receives special recognition in revised city bylaw to protect trees
In Wychwood, the new regulations for the number of trees are;
- For a plot of land with an area of less than 450 m², the regulations now state that there must be one tree per 250 m² with at least one in the front yard.
- For plots of land with an area between 451 m² and 650 m² the same regulations apply with the added requirement of one tree in the backyard and one tree in a side yard adjacent to a street, if applicable.
- For plots of land between 651 m² and 950 m², there must be one tree per 200 m², two in the front yard, one in the backyard and one in the side yard adjacent to the street.
- For properties over 951 m², there must be one tree per 150 m², two in the front yard, two in the backyard, and one in the side yard adjacent to the street.
This differs greatly from the general requirements for properties in the City of Gatineau, which require one tree per 250 m² for a maximum of 15 trees.
Regulations relating to tree trimming prohibit removal of more than 50% of live branches, the natural shape of a tree must be preserved, and trimming cannot shorten the life of the tree or cause it to die. There are strict regulations to help ensure the maintenance and protection of trees, such as prohibiting damage to trees and rules regarding construction. The revisions relating to cutting trees, which is prohibited with a few exceptions, and replacing cut trees are more strict in order to protect and maintain trees in the area.
“The Bylaw changes being proposed today are not perfect but it is a good step forward,” said Aylmer district councillor Steven Boivin during the November 23 municipal council meeting. “This is a good compromise when taking into consideration the perspectives that have been put forward. I want to highlight the collaboration between residents and the City of Gatineau, particularly the Friends of Wychwood Association. They have worked for over 20 years on the protection of trees for their neighborhood. They worked with the commission to ensure that these regulations came to be. I am happy to see the rule passed and I look forward to seeing other measures put in place to protect such as environmental inspecteur and tree planting in neighborhoods with less forest coverage in the city.”
Adopted at the first municipal council meeting with the newly elected members, the revised regulations give special consideration to the Wychwood community and their work with protecting and maintaining trees. These regulations were recommended by the Commission sur le Développement du Territoire, l’Habitation et l’Environnement (CTHE).
“The Friends of Wychwood are at the origin of the first regulation on the felling of trees on the territory of the old towns forming the current Gatineau,” said Lise Filiatrault, President of the Friends of Wychwood Association. “For several years, we have been asking for better measures to protect trees, a precious natural heritage. We are therefore very happy with the adoption of this regulation, to which we contributed through public consultations to better supervise the felling of trees when it is unavoidable but also to promote planting. We are really delighted that the unique wooden character of the neighborhood is recognized in this bylaw. It is the fruit of several years of work which shows that when citizens, city services and elected officials work together, we obtain better results.”
Filiatrault also highlighted the importance of ensuring that the bylaws are applied, and to supplement it with awareness-raising and tree-planting programs, such as the Partners of the Aylmer sector did with the “adopt a tree” initiative.