Niagara Region’s Planning and Economic Committee has approved by-law changes to better meet the conversation needs of Niagara woodlands.
The Woodland Conservation By-law has controlled conservation efforts, including the protection and preservation, of Niagara woodlands since 1981.
Several key changes were made to the by-law to ensure it meets the current and future needs of Niagara. It is the first time changes have been made since 2008.
“Niagara’s woodlands play a vital role in the health and vibrancy of our natural environment, our communities, and our economy. The Region’s updated Woodlands Conservation By-law will ensure we’re in step with our local and provincial plans and policies, and are working together to protect and preserve our woodlands, both now, and in the future,” said Rino Mostacci, Niagara Region Commissioner Planning and Development Services in a release.
The proposed changes include:
- Responsibility for enforcing the by-law, as well the position of Regional Forester, will be transferred back to the Region from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.
- The requirement for an external advisory committee was removed.
- An exemption was added to account for remediation efforts on contaminated lands.
- The by-law includes additional regulations for tree removals associated with a building permit.
- Terminology, definitions and references within the by-law have been updated and replaced to ensure alignment with local and provincial plans and policies
These changes were made after review with the public and stakeholders through an online survey and online open house in June 2020. Over 350 residents filled out the survey and 79 attended the open house, including 40 industry representative and community stakeholders.
Input from residents helped identify areas of concerns and shortcomings in the previous by-law. The Region used feedback when making new changes.
The updated by-law will be presented to regional council on Oct. 22. If approved, it will go into effect Jan. 31, 2021.