The District of Lantzville’s new council wasted no time in establishing a new bylaw protecting trees – the bylaw was adopted within council’s first week in office.
The district held two special meetings Nov. 3 on council’s second day in charge. The first meeting was an in-camera meeting closed to the public for the purpose of considering “the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege,” as per the agenda. The second meeting, held the same day at 9 p.m., saw the first, second and third readings of a tree protection bylaw (Bylaw No. 331), according to the agenda, as well as the scheduling of an additional special meeting Saturday, Nov. 5, to consider the adoption of the bylaw.
For both Nov. 3 meetings, Lantzville council, by unanimous vote, opted to waive the notice required for the meetings, per the Community Charter.
According to a media release from the district, the bylaw prohibits the cutting of trees on parcels of land greater than 0.4 hectares (one acre), with exceptions for dangerous, diseased or pest-infested trees.
“In the meantime, the District of Lantzville council considers it is in the public interest not to permit the logging and clear-cutting of treed parcels of land,” noted a media release from the district.
At Saturday’s meeting, Lantzville residents showed both support and criticism for the bylaw’s hasty process and what it dictated.
In a letter to council, resident Mary Alyward wrote she was concerned for residents of upper Lantzville on small acreages, who, such as herself, use firewood for heat during winter.
“I am for the bylaw, but I do believe that there needs to be amendments with community involvement so that this bylaw can serve the people of Lantzville. I don’t think the intent is to remove individual rights,” said Heather Peacock at the meeting.
Former council member Will Geselbracht spoke during Saturday’s meeting, as well, and asked council to rescind the first two readings and refer the bylaw back to staff for a report on the legality of the bylaw and the ramifications for landowners.
Mayor Mark Swain made the motion to adopt the bylaw and it passed unanimously.
The district’s release noted that the bylaw’s intent is to prohibit the cutting down of trees with a trunk greater than 20 centimetres while a “more comprehensive bylaw” is developed by council over the next two to three months.