Monday, January 24, 2011

Should the bylaw apply to everyone?

Today's newsworthy article and photo in the SP (Jan. 24/11) is the destruction of the Gathercole elms. My question is who is going to be charged for cutting elm trees out of season and leaving the wood behind?

To protect the 50,000 elms in this city (valued at hundreds of millions of dollars) from Dutch Elm Disease, the city passed a bylaw prohibiting the cutting or removal of elm trees outside of the designated times in spring and fall. When the elms are cut or trimmed the wood was to be chipped and buried in order to stave off Dutch Elm disease from destroying the urban forest. We supposedly even have a special place at the city dump for citizens to drop elm wood. Citizens purchasing firewood are banned from bringing elm wood into the city.

Councillor Hill is quoted as saying "the decision to remove the trees was not taken lightly, but was made in the interest of new development in the city's downtown." That would be our mecca called River Landing. He further commented that the city may need to look at stricter bylaws to ensure protective means are in place for trees. How about enforcing the bylaw that already exists?

As for the preservation of the trees I suspect that if the developer had tried to build around them that the stress on the trees over the years of construction would have damaged them to the point of unhealthiness and eventual removal. I just hope the city is not planting elms anywhere anymore.

I live in Nutana, an area filled with decades old elms. I live in fear that Dutch Elm Disease will hit my 'hood and denude this historic area.

Pick up this damn wood and destroy it before our urban forest is infected and our taxes go through the roof removing dead elms and replacing them.


  1. Interesting take Mistress, I never considered the fact that these trees were removed out of season when I initially read the article.

    However, that being said I am hardly surprised at the way this Council continues to act. They have shown little regard for the citizens with each Councillor pushing a personal agenda which has left us with a convoluted budget stacked with individual programs that are inefficient.

    Hopefully this city doesn't suffer from voter apathy next election.

  2. You may wish to check your facts on this. It seems to me that the cutting of the trees does not violate any ban. Check out the City of Saskatoon website:

    "In 2005, provincial legislation extended the ban period (when pruning all elm trees is prohibited). Do not prune elm trees from April 1 to August 31. The ban covers the period when elm bark beetles are most active. Outside the ban period, regular pruning helps keep trees healthy and better able to resist all types of diseases, including Dutch elm disease. Removing dead wood also makes your trees less attractive to elm bark beetles."

  3. I thought the only prohibition on cutting elms was April 1 to August 31 of any given year, I somehow doubt the dreaded Elm Beatle is very active in January! I am sure Mr. Nassar being a good developer will clean up the wood, stumps and all other refuse before April 1. As for Councillor Hill saying the decision was not taken lightly it wasn't a decision for council to make the trees in question were on private property bought from the city. Can't everybody just let this development go ahead without the petty BS? Quit throwing fuel on the fire and helping the flat earth citizens and the CAVE people. The City of Saskatoon has a very agressive elm pruning program that is based on a seven year pruning cycle for all city elms which could very well be why our elms are doing so well. Let's quit stirring the pot and start giving credit where it's due.

  4. Anon 7:40 - I agree with you that Mr. Nassar is a good developer and a good citizen. He in fact has my confidence.

    After the city sold the property to Nassar the trees may have belonged to him - although the elm trees on my property still belong to the city. I think the point the SOS people were trying the make is that the city could have put a condition on the sale that the trees be incorporated into the development. I am not necessarily an advocate of this condition, I simply make note of the option.

    As for the bitching on RL, I will continue to bitch about continued spending on a project that, when started, was billed as paying for itself through land sales and taxation. I recall Council saying, during budget, that RL will need a million tax dollars for maintenance as the project did not proceed in a timely manner.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.