Wool­wich eyes new guide­lines for tree plant­ing

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - STEVE KANNON

LONG-DIS­CUSSED NEW STAN­DARDS FOR plant­ing trees as part of de­vel­op­ment projects in Wool­wich are now start­ing to take form.

Meet­ing Tues­day night, coun­cil looked at tree plant­ing and land­scap­ing de­sign guide­lines that would help boost the green canopy in the town­ship and help newly planted trees to have a bet­ter chance of sur­viv­ing.

The pol­icy would re­quire de­vel­op­ers to pro­vide more and bet­ter top­soil, for in­stance, in­creas­ing the vi­a­bil­ity of trees and other plants in new sub­di­vi­sions. The re­view also looks at en­vi­ron­men­tal mea­sures in ar­eas such as com­mer­cial park­ing lots.

The changes are in line with the re­cent Town­ship of Wool­wich En­vi­ron­men­tal En­hance­ment Com­mit­tee (TWEEC) green in­fra­struc­ture re­port, direc­tor of en­gi­neer­ing and plan­ning Dan Ken­na­ley told coun­cil­lors De­cem­ber 18.

He iden­ti­fied four key guide­lines in the draft pro­posal: a min­i­mum width of 1.5 me­tres for plant­ing widths on boule­vards, a 300 mil­lime­tre top­soil depth, man­dated soil qual­ity and a plant­ing area of at least 15 cu­bic me­tres for new trees.

Though wel­com­ing the changes, Coun. Pa­trick Mer­li­han sug­gested they per­haps didn’t go far enough, de­cry­ing a “mid­dle of the road” ap­proach of, for in­stance, a new top­soil depth re­quire­ment of 300mm in­stead of a TWEEC-rec­om­mended dou­bling of the cur­rent 200mm.

“Maybe we want to be cham­pi­ons of the en­vi­ron­ment,” he said.

Coun. Larry Shantz stressed the need for hard tar­gets rather than leav­ing too much dis­cre­tion in the new rules.

In re­sponse, Ken­na­ley noted the pol­icy is some­thing of a start­ing point for the sake of dis­cus­sion. The town­ship plans to con­sult with de­vel­op­ers and open the process up to pub­lic in­put

“We can learn from the con­sul­ta­tion process,” he said.

“In the end, it’s go­ing to be up to coun­cil to de­cide what the num­ber will be.”

Ken­na­ley said his depart­ment plans to start con­sul­ta­tions with de­vel­op­ers and hold pub­lic meet­ings as early as the first quar­ter of the year.

New guide­lines would go beyond those es­tab­lished first in 2010 for guid­ing the land­scap­ing com­po­nent of var­i­ous site plan and sub­di­vi­sion devel­op­ments.

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