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Dear Editor,

The question begs to be asked – why are councils passing egregious by-laws? Is it because staff presents staff reports, in the favour of the staff, and the people end up paying for staff’s mistakes?

Is it because there is a raft of new councillors at helm of our municipalities? It seems the same old by-laws, which weren’t passed by the previous council, have come back to haunt the people.

You might think the newly elected councils would stop and wonder – if this is such a great idea why didn’t the previous council pass this by-law? Could it be the previous council understood what was so wrong about the by-law?

And here we go again. The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) – approx., 7,000 people in 28,000 hec, and Grey County (450,000 hec), (and I would suspect other municipalities), are attempting to pass an amendment to their 'tree cutting' by-law(s). The advertisement states: “to include trees on privately owned lands.” This by-law is to affect all lands with a minimum of .5 hec., basically every property outside of Thornbury.

How has this egregious by-law raised its ugly head? It seems the TBM has a new Planner. He’s been there about a year, coming from a much larger 'urban' area. Could one say he knows very little of this area? And just who is the Director to oversee everything – including micromanaging shrubs, various habitats, and trees? The new Planner.

What types of land does this affect? No permits for:

- Future Secondary Plan Area;

  • Special Study Area;

  • Escarpment;

  • Wetlands;

  • Hazard Lands;

  • Major Open Space;

  • Areas identified as containing Provincially Significant Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest;

  • Other areas identified as potentially containing significant or sensitive natural heritage features.”

And just for the Landscapers – 'landscape architect' means a graduate of a post-secondary school landscape architect program and who is a member of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects. Are you still in business or does this shut you down?

Now, according to the Municipal Councillor’s Guide the province can only give a municipality the powers the province has. Constitutionally, it seems, the province is restricted (92 (5)) to the “Management and Sale of the Public Lands belonging to the Province and of the Timber and Wood thereon.” Question – how can a municipality pass a by-law affecting “timber and wood” or plants of any type on private land?

Haven’t we all had enough of this bureaucratic Oligarchy? Isn’t it time for the people TO STAND UP and just say 'NO!' Contact your council members and forget staff… they most certainly are not working for you!

So, the question begs to be asked – why are councils doing and/or creating these egregious by-laws? Is it because staff presents staff reports, in the favour of the staff, and the people end up paying for staff’s mistakes?

Elizabeth F. Marshall , Town of the Blue Mountains

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