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Property maintenance bylaw sparks Nelson council debate

Changes to the property maintenance bylaw had one Nelson city councillor voicing concerns. - Nelson Star stock photo
Changes to the property maintenance bylaw had one Nelson city councillor voicing concerns.
— image credit: Nelson Star stock photo

Nelson city council adopted an amended property maintenance bylaw Monday, but not all councillors were in favour.

Councillor Bob Adams has voiced opposition to the bylaw since it came forward in May, following the adoption of the tree maintenance bylaw.

“I’ve looked after the boulevard in front of my place — it’s 14 feet wide and 57 feet long — for 30 years,” said Adams. “I plant the trees and I prune them. I cut them down and remove them when they get too big and now I have to ask council’s permission, but I still have to do it.”

The bylaw was amended to include a section that reads “the planting and care of shrubs, plants and bushes upon any street or boulevard within the City shall be under the control of the city.”

The amendment also stipulates no one is allowed to plant, remove, cut down, damage or injure any plant, shrub or bush on any boulevard or adjacent to any street within the City without written permission.

City manager Kevin Cormack said the city has become known as the “tree police” but they are going to manage the bylaw within reason.

“Most laws are for the people who aren’t doing the right thing,” said councillor Donna Macdonald. “We want to encourage a positive kind of behaviour from our community and prevent extreme behaviour.”

“It’s paperwork that I don’t think we really need,” said Adams.

“If everyone that looks after their boulevard phones staff and says ‘tell me what I should and shouldn’t do,’ staff are going to be run off their feet.

“I agree that there is the odd person that takes the further step and gets rid of a tree because it’s blocking my view. Well, that’s wrong. I just think this bylaw takes things too far. It’s too much paperwork and red tape.”

 

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