February 7, 2015
To Mayor and Members of Council
Re: Oak Ridges Moraine - Guardians of the Road
the past century, the Guardians of Walker Road have been the trees
along one of the most scenic and canopied roads left in
Northumberland County. The trees have slowed traffic, prevented
vehicles from going into the creek and erosion along a single lane
accident-free stretch of road within a designated environmentally
protected area (floodplain, creek and drumlin).
The historic road is on the Oak Ridges Moraine and
an important gateway to Ganaraska Forest which includes
portions of Northumberland, Peterborough, Victoria and Durham. The
story of Ganaraska Forest is unparalleled in Canadian conservation
In 2013, large numbers were ominously painted on 130 trees. It
would have been the Municipality’s largest single treecutting
operation in its history. It would have destroyed a rare landscape
which many people value as a special place including retired
resident, Gracie from Millbrook who said to her nurse in
Peterborough, “Walker Road was the most beautiful road in the
world.” To date, over 30 trees have been removed – but more will be
destroyed and even more are on a watch list.
Regulated by the Ontario Government, the Oak Ridges Moraine
Conservation Plan is coming up for review this year. It was supposed
to set a clear policy for protecting the moraine by maintaining,
improving and restoring its ecological and hydrological functions.
Walker Road is setting a precedent for other ORM Municipalities
which are supposed to - but do not always conform with the
A piecemeal approach is bad for the environment - what happens in
one area affects other areas. "Natural resources form a delicate
balanced system in which all parts are interdependent and they
cannot be successfully handled, piecemeal." (A.F.Coventry)
Trees guard the forests, moraine and special places that must not
be spoiled. No more living trees should be destroyed.
and Members of Council
June 3, 2013
and Members of Council,
Municipality of Port Hope,
HOPE, Ont. L1A 3V9
Thompson and Members of Council:
Re: Tree Butcher
soon cometh... 130 historic trees on Walker Rd.
Ganaraska Forest area (Conc. 9 & 10)
This letter is written to express serious concerns on the Municipality’s
proposal for the destruction of 130 historic trees on Walker Road -
one of the most unique and scenic
natural roads left in Northumberland County.
this already approved capital project may soon become the largest
single treecutting operation in the history of the
A week or so ago, foreboding grey numbers suddenly
appeared on 130 trees. There was
with the three local residents, or the Ganaraska Region Conservation
It is the writer’s understanding that tendering for the large scale
operation may take place within the next few weeks. Treecutting could
commence as early as August/September.
The Walker Road trees are on the
Oak Ridges Moraine. The trees
are also part of Ontario’s Greenbelt (2005) – the world’s largest
The history of the area
and important environmental factors have been ignored.
One is left questioning why is there a rush to bring in chainsaws and/or
monster tree eating machine(s) without first asking what is really being
destroyed or negatively impacted. The large trees act as a windbreak,
prevent erosion, add character and natural beauty to the road. These
trees also speak of the area’s history and form a major part of a
significant cultural landscape.
As a doorway to
Ganaraska Forest, Walker Road is a route of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail
which begins in Port Hope and connects with the Oak Ridges Trail.
Walker Road is also frequented by birdwatchers and nature lovers,
horseback riders, ATVs and snowmobilers.
Historically, the Ganaraska Watershed Map (1942) showed
included in the “Proposed Ganaraska Forest”. The Ganaraska
Watershed Report (1944) which contained the foregoing map was sponsored
by the Canadian and Ontario Governments during WW II. It was one of the
greatest conservation plans in Canadian history - its most important
recommendation was “establishing a forest on the northerly part of
the watershed…” Although technically not part of the forest today,
Walker Road remains an important gateway to Ganaraska Forest.
Prior to the establishment of Ganaraska Forest, the Town of
Hope had a long history of severe flooding, evacuations and property
“Despite the massive flooding the
communities faced, with downtown Port Hope the only major town in the
watershed having to be evacuated annually…”
(John Bacher, Two Billion
Trees and Counting (2011)
About half of the
Walker Road trees slated for destruction and the extensive root system
are immediately adjacent to and run parallel with the Garden Hill stream
– which feeds into the pond of the Garden Hill Conservation Area a few
miles below it. (Garden Hill was the first conservation area established
This area is especially vulnerable:
“As the environmental ‘circulatory
system’, streams are one of the most vulnerable natural features of
the rural landscape. Too often, stream banks, springs and small
tributaries that provide summer-long flow of water, are cleared of
vegetation. This severely degrades aquatic habitat by removing shade and
thereby increasing water temperature. For example, the removal of plants
and trees from stream banks has destroyed many trout habitats, since the
salmonid family of fish species require cool water and overhanging
vegetation for shelter. In addition, plant roots hold stream banks in
place and their removal often causes erosion which can seriously impact
the aquatic habitats downstream” (Streams
– Oak Ridges Moraine Land
The Garden Hill
stream sees young trout from time to time and was once part of a fish
farm in the latter part of the 18th century, as shown in the
Ganaraska Watershed Map (1942). The fish farm included a large pond on
the west side of Walker Road and two smaller ponds on the east side.
Young trout were regularly released here into the Garden Hill stream –
probably the first fish farm in the Municipality. However, like Wilmot
Creek, the Walker fish farm did not survive.
removed the forest cover necessary to keep streams cool and greatly
magnified the amount of soil eroding into the streams. Soil erosion,
combined with changes in water flow resulted in the silting over the
bottom that trout and salmon needed. Fish populations dwindled and for
a while, the Atlantic Salmon went extinct.
The Walker Road
and Ganaraska Forest trees have acted like a giant sponge, reduced
erosion, silting and downstream flooding. “Once
work got underway, however, action was swift... Within 10 years, the
plantings had led to streams flowing more evenly and the reduction of
spring flooding and summer low-flow conditions.”(John
Bacher, Two Billion Trees
and Counting (2011)
Hope has been the primary beneficiary of the “protection forest” and
regular flooding has become a thing of the past.
“What was achieved on
the Ganaraska, however, was impressive, with
43 percent of the
watershed now in forest cover. Deserts, drought and floods have
vanished.” (John Bacher,
Two Billion Trees and Counting
The travesty is
the Walker Road trees which has benefitted the Municipality for many
years - may soon be destroyed by the same beneficiary.
Important Cultural Landscape
The past is
important and culturally rich landscapes like Walker Road give a sense
of place. The Walker Road trees
are historic trees which may be traced to Pioneer Historian, Verschoyle
Benson Blake (1899-1971) – the grandson of The Rt. Hon. Edward Blake.
In addition to
many other achievements in conservation and heritage preservation, Blake
was one of the founders of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO)
in 1933, along with The Rt. Hon. C. Vincent Massey. Unquestionably,
Port Hope would not be the best preserved town today without the
guidance and heritage preservation work of the ACO.
On March 18, 2009, the Public Meeting
of the Port Hope Historical Society had one of its best turnouts -
almost certainly attracted by the Press Release of Ron Getz, then PHHS
President which read: “Story of pioneering conservationist to be
told - We tend to take the Ganaraska Forest and the millions of
evergreens on the Great Pine Ridge for granted. There are still many in
the old United Counties, however, who remember when the area north of
Port Hope was a dust bowl of eroding hills and abandoned farms. The
massive reforestation undertaken in the late Forties and early Fifties
transformed our landscape. One of the visionary pioneers who worked
behind the scenes was a shy, self-effacing historian and conservationist
named Verschoyle Benson Blake. Blake bought a farm northwest of Garden
Hill in 1926, and began tree-planting experiments. When Dr. A. H.
Richardson laid the groundwork for the Forest, he hired Vers Blake as
lead historian for the report that provided the impetus for the project.
Blake’s contribution to conservation and the preservation of Ontario’s
history remains an untold story…” (Northumberland Today, Mar. 12,
2009, p. 2:1)
Land registry records
confirm that the Blake family owned 300 acres on the 9th
Concession along both sides of Walker Road - the same stretch of
treed road that may soon face the Municipality’s tendered “Tree
Butcher”. As the same type and age of trees along Walker Road are
found in another low lying area on the old Blake property, it is
believed V.B. Blake himself planted these trees along both sides of the
Garden Hill stream to help reduce erosion of the stream’s banks.
In terms of V.B.
Blake, the establishment of Ganaraska Forest and the conservation
movement in Ontario, the historic trees on Walker Road are regarded as
heritage tree is defined as “a
specimen associated with a historic person, place, event or period.”
Forestry Chronicle 81(4). July / August 2005, p. 593).
municipalities, there are no designated heritage trees, or a process to
designate heritage trees, in Municipality of Port Hope.
are an integral and valuable part of the natural and cultural landscape.
Walker Road is one of the best practical demonstrations of how trees
prevent erosion along banks of streams and preserve fish habitat.
The living trees
on Walker Rd. help in the important battle against climate change. In
2007, the Ontario government introduced a program to plant 50 million
trees by 2020, as part of its commitment to help fight climate change
and green the province. The 50 Million Tree Program is Ontario’s
contribution to the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign, and is the
single largest commitment made to date to this worldwide campaign.
The trees help to
capture carbon dioxide (a major greenhouse gas). One healthy mature
tree also releases enough oxygen back in the atmosphere to support two
human beings for one year (*130 trees = 260 persons)
tree removal of mature trees proposed along the Garden Hill Creek will
destroy tree cover and an extensive root system. It will increase water
temperature, sedimentation and erosion. It will also affect the Garden
Hill pond, contrary to accepted environmental conservation precepts on
all levels including:
R.S.C. 1985 (Federal)… no
person shall carry on any work or undertaking that results in the
harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat;
Conservation Act, 2001
features including Permanent and intermittent streams;
Port Hope By-Law
No. 42/2011 “trees beautify the landscape, reduce the impact of
extremes in weather, provide habitat for wildlife …and contribute to a
No road is 100%
risk free. On a road travelled for more than a century, the trees on
Walker Road have not posed a major safety hazard where vehicles already
tend to drive slower, especially on the narrow sections of the road.
Although they do a good job, snow plow operators don’t like the big
trees because they too have to slow down. There is no knowledge of any
accidents caused by a tree in recent history. Trees also prevent
vehicles from going down the embankment.
No warning signs
have been posted. Posting of reduced speed signs and other regulatory
signs would minimize risk factor as would reflective tree markers. Road
widening midpoint would allow oncoming vehicles to pass.
Walker Road is
unique – there is no shoulder.
The 3-metre clear zone could conceivably wipe out most of the trees
and vegetation along the east side of the stream - contrary to
environmental legislation. Municipal Tree
Policy per Resolution 98/2009 Sect. 5 also provides “if isolated trees
are found to be just within the clear zone, while other trees in the
immediate vicinity are outside the clear zone, that removal of the tree
inside the clear zone may not significantly reduce the risk to motorists
and that protection or removal may not be necessary.”
Walker Road is in an exceptional area of
environmental and cultural significance. With the exception of a few
dead tees and limbs, the aesthetic value of a tree lined Walker Road in
its original state is immeasurable.
For the foregoing reasons,
it is requested that a “Designation of Natural Area”
for Walker Road
under Roadside Vegetation Management Policy By-law
Thank you for your
attention to this matter.
Axe could fall on 130 trees
Northumberland Today -
June 12, 2013
One hundred and thirty trees along Walker Road will come under the axe
if the road safety policy is followed, but some people aren't happy with
Marian Martin says Walker Road is “one of the most unique and scenic
natural roads left in Northumberland County” and wants the trees lining
the road to remain.“Clearly, Port Hope has been the primary beneficiary of the “protection
forest” and regular flooding has become a thing of the past.
She calls them heritage trees and wrote, “Heritage trees are an integral
and valuable part of the natural and cultural landscape. Walker Road is
one of the best practical demonstrations of how trees prevent erosion
along banks of streams and preserve fish habitat.”
travesty is the Walker Road trees, which has benefitted the municipality
for many years — may soon be destroyed by the same beneficiary,” Martin
wrote in a letter to Port Hope council.
And Councillor Greg Burns happens to agree.
In an interview Tuesday night, Burns said he and members of the Tree
Advisory Committee went to Walker Road and visited each of the trees
marked for removal.
Some trees that weren't marked should have been marked for removal
because they were likely to come down and could be considered a safety
issue, Burns said.
Many other trees that were marked were healthy and no cause for concern,
Members of the committee spoke with three of the four residents on
Walker Road who were concerned with the trees coming down, Burns added.
“There seems to be a difference of opinion between staff (and the tree
committee),” Burns said, adding that maybe 19 to 20 of the trees should
come down, not the 130 that are marked.
But works and engineering director Peter Angelo said he's just following
the roadside vegetation management policy that was put in initiated by
council a couple of years ago.
The policy clearly states vegetation should be cut back three metres
from the roadside.
“It's all about roadside safety,” Angelo said in an interview Tuesday
He said there aren't any sight line issues, but there could be an impact
with vehicular traffic.
And from an operational aspect, many of the trees are so close to the
roadside that the plows have knicked them while going by, he added.
Angelo said that over the years, roadside vegetation issues were dealt
with on a complaint basis, but since the policy was put into effect,
Walker Road is the first they are looking at.
“We're putting a focussed effort on removing hazardous trees,” Angelo
As for erosion concerns expressed by Martin, Angelo said the area is a
forest and they're only clearing the trees closest to the road.
“We know trees have value, but there needs to be a balance between
roadside safety for all road users, and aesthetics,” Angelo said.
Greg Wells, manager of planning and regulations for the Ganaraska Region
Conservation Authority said the GRCA has no authority over the removal
of the trees. He said if people were to bulldoze trees near one of the
waterways, that would be a concern, but cutting trees along the roadside
for safety reasons - as long as the root systems are left in place –
then there's no issue with erosion.
“On the direction of council, Port Hope's Tree Advisory Committee (TAC)
was requested by the Municipal Engineering and Works Director Peter
Angelo, to review the proposed Walker Road tree removals,” TAC member
Sue Stickley stated in an e-mail.
“Our committee has done so and will be discussing our TAC report with
the works department on Friday, June 14 at our regularly scheduled
public meeting which starts at 9 a.m. at 5 Mill Street South, in Port
“Until the committee has dealt with the issue, I cannot comment beyond
saying that we are aware and concerned,” she stated.
Jane Zednik and Harry Stooshinoff dated June 13, 2013
H. Stoosh [email@example.com]
Sent: June-13-13 8:34 AM
To: Port Hope Mayor; Greg Burns; Rick Austin; Mary Lou Ellis;
Jeff Gilmer; Jeff Lees; David Turck
Subject: Walker Road Tree Clearance - Comments of Concern
To Members of Council:
We have lived on the 10th Line which turns
into Walker Road for twenty years. The trees that line this stretch
of road creating a spectacular canopy have been there for much
longer; some over a hundred to two hundred years.
Over the many years, this tree-lined roadway has been
the subject of much admiration by area residents and tourists. It
has become the destination of bikers, horseback riders and hikers
and those out for a drive to experience the peacefulness and wonders
along this heritage road in Hope Township.
Over the past several years however, there seems to
be a concerted effort to destroy this unique roadway. In 2009,
citing traffic safety concerns, a plan was put forward by Hope
Township to employ a flail mower along the 10th Line that
would have mangled the vegetation and trees. Only by negotiating an
agreement with the residents along this stretch of road to undertake
a selective clearing themselves, was the roadway spared the flail
mower. There have not been any traffic accidents along this stretch
In 2011, Hydro One, as part of an arguably
ill-researched and planned line clearance plan, decided that century
old pines along this stretch of roadway needed to be taken down
because they were old and had cavities in the trees. Again, only
fast and furious negotiations with area residents aborted this plan.
Now here we are, two years later, and yet again this
spectacular roadway is being targeted for destruction. Walker Road
has been plowed for decades, but now the trees become a safety
issue? This roadway is not a major thoroughfare with little traffic
flow during the summer months, and even less during the winter
months. How many road accidents have been there along Walker Road?
We have not heard of any in the twenty years that we have resided in
If the township was truly concerned about safety issues along this
stretch of road, then a concerted effort would be made to exercise
control over illegal use of the roadway by ATV and dirt bike riders
as well as speeding snowmobilers.
The article below points out that Mr. Angelo is
simply following the implemented roadside vegetation management
policy that states “vegetation should be cut back three metres from
the roadside.” If this measure is followed through for Walker Road
and the 10th Line, there would be no tree-lined canopy,
no draw for people to take this spectacular road to and from the
Ganaraska Forest Centre and beyond, and many a heritage tree would
be lost, leaving the area open to the encroachment of invasive plant
species and opening up adjacent woodlands to disease and insect pest
infestations. Not mentioned in the article is that the 130 trees
marked to be felled are on the Oak Ridges Moraine, a landform
that is supposed to be protected under the ORMCP of 2001.
There may be some trees that need to come down due to
disease and decay, but this decision should be left to a qualified
arborist. There are few roads in the entire region to rival the
scenic Walker Road and the 10th Line. Roads such as these
need to be offered and afforded maximum protection.
The roadside vegetation policy needs to be
re-examined and amended so that heritage laneways such as Walker
Road are fully protected now and in the future so that generations
to come will be able to enjoy and cherish all these canopied
heritage roadways have to offer.
Jane Zednik/Harry Stooshinoff
E-Mail from Catherine Bayne
To the attention of Port Hope Mayor and
There are "safety" offsets to be considered in
the matter of Walker Road. http://www.northumberlandtoday.com/2013/06/12/axe-could-fall-on-130-trees
"But works and engineering director Peter
Angelo said he's just following the roadside vegetation management
policy that was put in initiated by council a couple of years ago.
The policy clearly states vegetation should be cut back three metres
from the roadside."
First of all I would like to say that typically
one tends to think of roadside "vegetation" as leafy understory
material...it is doubtful that the by-law had the intent that all
flora be removed. It seems unreasonable that mature trees and
ground covers be destroyed. While it is desirable that brush be cut
back to reduce potential for wildlife to step in front of vehicles
removal of roadside trees opens that area to growth-stimulating
sunlight, ergo increased understory vegetation.
A tree-lined road with mature interlaced canopy
can easily be at least 10 degrees C cooler than one with sparse
cover. A completely denuded road is a desert by comparison, it is
also a source of small particulate pollution of our atmosphere.
Provincially it is unpaved roads which contribute greatly to the
asthma causing small particulate count. The ability of trees to
lower temperature and retain humidity on road surfaces is a forest
ecosystem service of great value.
The new Habitat and Species annex of the
Canada-United States 2012Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA)
was created to strengthen collaborative actions in order to
contribute to the recovery of native species populations and to
achieve a net gain in habitat. It seems to me, since all levels of
government are constitutionally required to respect Federal treaties
and agreements, that here is an opportunity to assist in watershed
The whole protection forest will be healthier
for the retention of shade through continuous canopy as it will
reduce the cascade of negative "edge effects" of forest
fragmentation. The road department only focuses on making their own
work easier, not making the overall effect more efficient. With the
trees cut back, the brush clearing will be an ongoing maintenance
job at increased intervals because of accelerated growth...you will
understand that good governance requires a broad view rather than
the narrow focus of job creation.
When I drive a road which refreshes with
not only the visual and physical cooling of an oasis but also an
appreciation that here is evidence of true concern for our
environment rather than the hypocrisy of "green" communities
which lack ecological common sense, I am grateful for the wiser
heads which have prevailed.
There are great opportunities for communities
to protect heritage trees in Ontario and designate them as part of
the endowment we have managed not to waste and which are necessary
to a greener future. The cutting of healthy hundred year old trees
should be considered an act of vandalism. The presence of such
trees both heralds and rewards good environmental stewardship.
Thank you for your consideration and hopefully
for saving an important part of our Natural Heritage.
E-MAIL from John Geale to Port Hope Mayor and
I have become aware
of the issues surrounding the possible removal of many old trees
along Walker Road, and I wanted to let you know that I support your
position that this should not occur.
As a member of the
Northumberland Land Trust, I am quite familiar with the stretch of
road under consideration. The Land Trust owns a property a little
further west along the 10th Line road allowance, and I often drive
along Walker road on the way to and from the property on our visits
to inspect and maintain it. The forest along the road is a wonderful
thing to experience - something that is very hard to come by these
days. I cannot believe that the small volume of traffic on the road
is sufficient to require clearing everything back to a distance of 3
m from the road's edge. Trees that are damaged or diseased are
another matter, of course; in the interests of safety and/or
convenience I can understand why they should be removed as
necessary. However, to remove healthy trees that do not really cause
a problem seems like a mere bureaucratic exercise, and I would hope
that whoever is responsible for this sort of thing would have more
important issues to deal with.
Perhaps Port Hope
should follow the lead of many other municipalities and hire an
arborist to give advice in such matters. Perhaps Rory Quigley
Cobourg's arborist, could be consulted.
any case, I fully support the idea of designating Walker Road a
"Natural Cultural Landscape" (or whatever designation is
appropriate) if this would prevent the loss of a significant number
of large, healthy trees. I hope common sense will prevail in this
Port Hope, ON
OPEN LETTER dated June 18, 2013
(published Northumberland Today, Ganaraska Forest
will be losing its own roots, June 26, 2013)
Architectural Conservancy of Ontario
is a place of natural beauty and interest - and probably the most unique
road in Northumberland County.
Port Hope, Ontario
Attention: Trish Doney, President and Board Members
Axe could fall on 130 trees -
published in Northumberland Today on June 12, 2013
This letter is written to bring to your attention a matter of serious
concern relating to the destruction of heritage trees as per the
letter to the Mayor dated June 3 seen at
This century old Walker Road and its trees are on the Oak Ridges Moraine
(one of Ontario's most
significant landforms) and
included in Ontario’s Greenbelt Plan (the
world’s largest greenbelt).
According to Minister Linda Jeffrey of Municipal Affairs and
Housing: “The Greenbelt… is a key part in our government’s efforts to
protect the environment and combat climate change. In those terms, the
Greenbelt is one of the greatest contributions our generation has made
to the future of Ontario.”
An important doorway to Ganaraska Forest, the trees on Walker Road have
a valuable function. Their destruction does nothing to
protect the ecological and hydrological integrity of the Oak
The large stretch of the narrow treed road also runs along the Garden
Hill Creek – a regulated watercourse – leading into the Garden Hill
Conservation Area pond.
The historic and cultural significance of the Walker Road landscape,
including the threatened trees, is directly related to a great pioneer
historian and his role in the conservation movement leading up to the
establishment of Ganaraska Forest.
A quiet and unassuming man, Verschoyle Benson Blake had a fascinating
pedigree tied to important people
including The Rt. Hon. Edward Blake (his grandfather) and Thomas Benson, the
first Mayor of Peterborough. A portrait of
Judge Thomas M. Benson hangs in Victoria Hall in Cobourg.
In 1933, Verschoyle Benson Blake was one of the founding members of the
Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) – along with C. Vincent
Massey. He also served on the advisory committees for Upper Canada
Village and Black Creek Pioneer Village and was also instrumental in
establishing Barnum House in Grafton as a museum (the reason ACO was
first established). Under the Conservation Authorities Branch, Blake
wrote the historical backdrop to numerous conservation reports in
Ontario, including the Ganaraska Watershed Report (1944) and later
helped organize the provincial plaques program in Ontario. Considered
the “Dean of Historians”, modern day historians agree “there hasn’t
been anybody like him since…”
V.B. Blake was respected as “a quiet conservationist”. The Blakes owned 300 acres along both sides of Walker Road for almost half a century – the same area under threat today.
It was poor farmland when Blake arrived in 1926 for by
then, the cumulative effects of early settlement had left a devastated
landscape devoid of natural vegetation. The early pioneers had clear cut
the land (for ship masting and lumber). Derelict lands were left and
blowouts from sand dunes were frequent.
Ganaraska River and Port Hope experienced
severe flooding as a result. Blake recognized the
situation was serious.
Flooding - Walton Street, Port Hope
Ganaraska Watershed Report, 1944, p. 71
On land once described as the
“sandy desert of the north”, Blake began his treeplanting
experiments which became a practical demonstration of the merits of
conservation. Blake’s ongoing “conservation in miniature” project waited
for thw Ontario and
Since then, flooding has become a thing of the past for the most part.
The Public Meeting of the
Port Hope Historical Society (PHHS - formerly East Durham) on March 18,
2009 saw one of its best turnouts ever. The strong attendance (a full
house) was almost certainly in response to the Press Release published
in Northumberland Today.
The idea of nominating Ganaraska Forest as a National Historic Site of
Canada and Verschoyle Benson Blake as a National Historic Person was
formed at this meeting. After years of exhaustive research, nominations
have been submitted and if successful, Ganaraska Forest would become the
first national site in the Municipality.
As a pioneer in the early conservation
movement and as a historian, Blake inherently understood the natural
connection between land conservation, history, and heritage preservation
– unlike Developers or the Municipality.
The Municipality’s proposal shows it has much in common with
Developers. Although there are documented cases of numerous trees being destroyed on
the Moraine by Developers, none could be found for any other
Municipality destroying trees on the moraine in such large numbers as
The Municipality’s proposal to wipe out 130 trees flies in the face of
the Municipality’s “tree-friendly” by-law (By-Law No. 42/2011): “the
Municipality of Port Hope recognizes that trees beautify the landscape,
reduce the impact of extremes in weather, provide habitat for wildlife,
add value to property and contribute to a healthy environment…”
It also appears the proposed tree destruction is not part of the
Conservation Authority’s (GRCA) mandate nor is it accepting any
responsibility. If GRCA is not protecting the Walker Road trees, nor
the Municipality – who is?
The safety factor is an excuse on a road with no known accidents, no
posted speed signs and only four residents. No road is 100% risk free.
The writer is especially concerned that safety will be reduced as road
traffic speeds up without the natural slowing effect of the trees’
presence on an already old road.
Supporters of the large scale treecutting operation expound the tree’s
roots will stll remain. When would trees die or are removed, their root systems will decay. Stability of
the stream’s banks and road structure will be impacted in the long term
resulting in increased erosion, sedimentation and disruption of fish
habitat. The impact will also be seen in the Garden Hill CA pond.
In an attractive and distinct greenbelt landscape, the Municipality has
numbered 130 mostly living trees on Walker Road to be destroyed. It is
believed many of these trees were planted by V.B. Blake. An equally
large amount of dead trees and limbs on the road allowance and stream
are not numbered but should be. Treecutting of live trees should be the
Verschoyle Benson Blake made great contributions in his lifetime
and rests beside his grandfather and great grandfather (Bensons) in Port
Hope’s Union Cemetery. His words live on: "We need something more
than archives to tell us how our forefathers lived... to read this in
books and pictures is a good thing, but it is infinitely better to
preserve some of the things themselves. To let these be lost through our
indifference is to deprive future generations of a heritage to which
they are entitled."
Your attention to this matter is most appreciated.
Email dated July 28, 2013
Tree Advisory Committee
Dear Sue and Committee Members:
Thank you for your work in assessing the Walker
As you know, initially 130 trees were proposed to
be destroyed by the Municipality.
It seems the number has been reduced to 19 trees
plus 17 unmarked trees (36 trees total incl. stumps) .
In studying the report and comments of the Tree
Advisory Committee (TAC), the following important
1. Will the trim work required
on remaining trees be done, as noted by TAC?
2. Will the stumps
3. Will there be a proper cleanup
of present and past roadside debris? The municipal policy states
“Public Works shall return to areas with substantive residual
debris arising from mechanical operations to manually clean up
the roadside environment to improve aesthetics. The cleanup work
shall include manually removing and disposing of sticks,
branches and tree limbs which lie in the ditches and
4. Will there be future tree plantings
5. Will there be a reasonable time frame
for completion of the above? (as you saw, the amount of
existing debris is excessive... some apparently there for
decade. Limited vegetation is beneficial in creek area - but
excessive and increasing debris is not and will eventually cause
creek to dam up).
Before any work commences on Walker Road, I think
you will agree there should be a complete understanding between
all parties as to what work is actually being done.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Trees and Nuclear Waste