NORTH DUNDAS – Due to revisions of the Municipal Act, 2001, it is now required that municipalities adopt and maintain policies with respect to the manner that will protect and enhance tree canopy and natural vegetation in the municipality effective March 1.

Tree canopy and vegetation in North Dundas is currently protected by the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Official Plan, but, unfortunately, a policy doesn’t exist to reflect this. However, North Dundas CAO, Angela Rutley had a policy in place for council consideration.

“In section 270 of the Municipal Act it requires that certain policies need to be put in place as of March 1 and one [of these policies] is for the tree canopy and natural vegetation. It doesn’t give us any further guidance than that, but it does say we do need a policy,” said Rutley during the Feb. 11 North Dundas council meeting. “We already have sections of the plan that relate to this, so what I’ve done is pull sections of the official plan and put it in a policy format. What I did add for council’s consideration is that we would also strive to set aside funds in each annual budget to support tree planting initiatives; which could be tree planting of our own or tree planting by another community. For example, this year we had $1,300 in the draft budget to put towards planting trees at the South Mountain Fire Hall to lineate the property there for the fairgrounds, and we also had an additional $500 to go towards partnering up with South Nation tree initiatives.”

Mayor Tony Fraser commented on the new policy saying that, “it is important to set an example of doing such things and the trees around the South Mountain Fire Hall are a good example of that. Anywhere else we can make good use of planting trees, I’m thinking about Meet Me on Main Street and other events where we can set a good example for other municipalities.”

The council quickly and happily authorized and approved the new policy.