Memorial trees on highway back to discussion table

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer

During the committee of the whole meeting held on Monday, it was decided that the recommendation to continue the reconstruction of King’s Highway go back to the operations and facilities division for further investigation.

This was decided when Coun. John McTaggart pointed out the absence in the recommendation of the plan to recognize the importance and significance of the trees that have been removed to help with the highway expansion project.

McTaggart said that he and other councillors had discussed in the Operations and Facilities Executive Committee meeting about working in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Legion to replace the trees that were cut down.

Coun. Andrew Hallikas echoed McTaggart’s comments about having the community know the future of the cut down trees.

“These really are important trees and they’re important to a whole generation of us,” Hallikas said. “These are no ordinary trees. I was hoping to see that the four trees that we’re replacing get placed in a suitable location within the boundaries of the Town of Fort Frances.”

Hallikas also suggested a plaque indicating that they were planted in memory of the Fort Frances residents who served overseas during the Second World War.

This had been previously discussed at the Operations and Facilities Executive Committee meeting. However, not having this reflected in the official recommendation prevented a resolution from passing on Monday.

The submitted recommendation only states that the King’s Highway reconstruction project continues with the removed trees replaced in accordance with the town’s Tree Canopy Policy.

According to the tree canopy policy, the Town of Fort Frances has to maintain and enhance its municipal tree canopy through the adoption of a “no net loss” practice when it comes to municipal trees.

“Where it is required, for a tree to be removed to facilitate road construction, the tree has been damaged or dead or diseased, the tree poses a threat to residential or municipal property and the tree falls on the town’s property, the town will replace the said tree with a new tree in a suitable location so as to not impact municipal infrastructure,” the policy reads.

The policy states that it is not a requirement that the felled trees be placed in the same location from which it was removed. However, the town should aim to have the trees replaced within one year of removal, depending on budget availability.

Therefore, this item will go back to operations and facilities for a thorough investigation on the steps that will be taken by the Town of fort Frances to honour the Tree Canopy Policy.