It will be up to the next council to form a standing committee on a Township-wide tree protection bylaw.
On March 19, council voted 5-4 in favour of Coun. Charlie Fox’s motion to request that the tree bylaw issue be discussed at the council planning and priority workshop after the next municipal election on Oct. 20.The motion also calls for related funding to be part of the 2019 budget discussion.
Coun. Kim Richter, who voted against the motion with Councillors Petrina Arnason, David Davis and Bob Long, said it was out of order, as it would “handicap” a future council.
Mayor Jack Froese ruled the motion was in order, and asked Fox to amend the wording.
“It’s still not appropriate, this is just plain and simple politicking in the silly season,” Richter replied.
“We’ve had a very serious request come forward from the public to deal with the matter now. Pushing it off to the next council is not right.”
Coun. Michelle Sparrow said that council does not have enough time to tackle a tree protection bylaw before their term ends.
“I’m not quite sure how we would be able to create a tree protection bylaw for the whole Township with nine council meetings left. I think that’s making it become an election issue, versus actually looking at what we can actually accomplish,” she said.
Long said he also thought the motion was out of order, but for a different reason. He noted that council already sent the issue to staff for a report on March 5, after hearing a delegation from resident Hanae Sakurai.
“The motion was to refer the issue to staff. So how can we have another motion that says now don’t refer it to staff, refer it to somewhere else,” he said. “Isn’t the motion to refer it to staff good enough? It doesn’t say when they have to come back (with the report).”
Froese once again ruled that Fox’s motion was in order.
Fox said his motion does respond to Sakurai’s delegation by acknowledging that council should take action on this issue, and put a committee together. “The delegate requested exactly what I’m putting forth here,” Fox said.
“And to say that I’m trying to stall it — not at all. In fact, I’m trying to bring some structure to it and some value to it. Make an interim tree bylaw to go into effect — fine with me. But at least there’s some structure to this.”
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