Whose Trees Are They?

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photoItem #12 on today’s Environment &Transportation Committee agenda dealt with another instance of damage caused by city-owned trees to a homeowner’s property. And once again, the city tried to shirk it’s responsibility.

According to the written submission, “two very large trees…the damage from these trees has gotten progressively worst. It started with the driveway, walkway and porch issues and has developed into tree roots coming through the brick foundation causing my basement to leak. I called the tree division and Mr. Ivan Lisker came out…told me the trees could be removed but it would be at my expense…”

Councillor Orser tried to evade responsibility on the part of the city by asking the presenter “Wouldn’t your [legal] action be against them?” [ie the previous property owners]

Mr. Ivan Lisker tried to cloud the issue, suggesting that it might be impossible to determine if damage had actually be done by tree roots, as opposed to such natural cause as “heaving.”

Councillor Orser threw an additional smokescreen into the works when he suggested that because of the high percentage of disabled persons living in the neighbourhood, and because simply fixing the damaged sidewalk would only probably be followed be new damage to it, that there might be reason in this instance for the city to remove the tree at it’s own cost.

Chairperson Cheryl Miller appeared to sum up the committee position with this declaration: “Was the [home] foundation compromised by this tree? That’s the issue.”

Pretty much silent was Councillor Joni Baechler who is a well-known proponent for more trees in the city.

In the end, the committee decided to refer the matter back to staff for some further study, but not for the correct reason.

During the last municipal election campaign, I cared enough about this unfairness to make it a part of my official platform. To this day, I don’t know of a single other political figure in London who has raised this as a concern.

In other words, I’m way out ahead of the curve. Again.

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