January 20, 2005

York Region moves closer to Forest Conservation By-law

NEWMARKET The Regional Municipality of York has moved closer to implementing a Forest Conservation By-law with the adoption of new tree protection criteria.
"Protection of our natural environment is of paramount importance for the continued health and welfare of our community," said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  "Moving towards a stronger set of forest conservation guidelines will help to ensure a green legacy for York Region in the years to come."
The Forest Conservation By-law is set to replace the Region's existing Tree By-law, which places restrictions on tree destruction and removal.  Among the new measures being proposed for the Forest Conservation By-law:
 Allowing partnership agreements with local municipalities to protect smaller woodlands
 Enhanced enforcement tools and penalties; including the ability to use a 'set fine' process for ticketable offences, and 'stop work' order provisions
 More effective administrative instruments, including a permit system for tree-cutting activities, in order to facilitate better compliance with the new by-law
"A stronger by-law will offer a better incentive for property owners to follow the rules laid out for the removal of trees on their property," said Richmond Hill Mayor Bill Bell, Chair of the Region's Transportation and Works Committee.  "With established cutting guidelines and hefty penalties for those who do not abide these guidelines, this Forest Conservation By-law will go a long way to protecting our existing forest cover, as well as establish a basis for the expansion of our green spaces."
Staff will report back to Council following a final 60-day review period of the proposed by-law, with further comments from the public.  It is anticipated that the final draft will be submitted for Regional Council approval in March, with enactment expected for April.  The draft by-law is posted on the Region's Web site for public comment, under the "Tree by-law update" link on the main page.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.york.ca
Media Contact:   Michael Kemp, Corporate Communications, York Region
- (905) 830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1232
- Email: michael.kemp@york.ca

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