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Poplar tree presents problem for resident

Council voted against paying to remove a healthy poplar
Poplar tree on Bolton Ave. causing some problems for resident. Bob Liddycoat / Thorold News

A poplar tree on Bolton Avenue has at least one resident breathing uneasily.

Calling the tree “very large, dirty and unhealthy,” Terrilee McLean appeared at council last week to follow up on a petition circulated by her neighbours, asking “that the city remove, or at least help with the cost of removing it. The boy is severely allergic to the tree,” she added.

Coun. Ken Sentance enquired about the tree’s condition.

“It’s unhealthy?” he asked.

“It’s unhealthy to the residents,” McLean replied.

Her request was denied, since the poplar is an older specimen and quite healthy, according to the city’s Public Works and Community Services Director Geoff Holman.

“I recommend that the tree be removed at the homeowner’s expense, in accordance with the municipal tree policy,” he said, estimating the removal cost at about $2,500.

Because the poplar is on city property, “For every removal, there shall be a replacement planting, preferably at the same site,” states the policy. “A replacement tree will be at least 50 mm diameter at breast height of a preferred species, as recommended by the city.”

“Healthy trees produce an abundance of seeds for approximately two to three weeks in August,” Holman stated in his report. “As a result of this cotton/seed distribution, the cotton is captured in air conditioning units, pools, and causes a dusting of cotton in the general area around the tree, including irritation for those with allergies.”

Coun. Victoria Wilson said that while she sympathizes with the allergy sufferer, “What kind of precedent would we be setting if we removed a healthy tree when residents are allergic?”

The rest of council agreed, voting unanimously that the cost of the tree’s removal and replacement be borne by the Bolton Avenue residents.