Mount Royal, April 11, 2011 – The municipal administration unveiled the three phases of its new sustainable development policy at the Council meeting held this evening at Town Hall. Mayor Philippe Roy took advantage of the presence of citizens and journalists at the meeting to explain how the policy will be implemented.
The first two phases will precede by several months the announcement of the third and final phase of the new policy, which aims at nothing less than protecting both the community’s natural heritage and the environment. Specifically, phase 3 will cover energy consumption and residual materials management.
First, however, the Town intends to protect trees and the backyard green spaces of private homes. Having completed the reflection process, it is the current Town Council that, for the first time in Mount Royal’s history, will take action in this area. A by-law for the purpose will come into effect this summer after undergoing a public consultation scheduled for May.
“In a context of climate change and increasingly unpredictable and abundant rain, our new by-law will ensure that green space is maintained in our backyards, a key aspect of our identity as a garden city,” Mayor Roy said.
Protecting backyard green space on private property is also aimed at improving surface water removal, such as during a heavy rainfall. In recent years, the Town has received an increasing number of complaints related to water runoff from neighbouring properties. It appears that paving or otherwise covering the ground up to the property line interferes with rainwater absorption and can lead to flooding of neighbouring properties, to the great displeasure of the neighbours concerned. By requiring that a green strip at least 1.25 m (5 feet) wide be maintained around the edge of the property, the by-law aims to avoid this problem.
The scope of the by-law will also extend a little further to managing the cutting down of backyard trees. The goal here is to restrict the removal of trees on private property much as the Town currently does to protect front yard trees, that is, except in specific cases for which a permit has been granted. In such cases, a replacement tree must be planted.
In short, the by-law will help preserve one of the guiding concepts to which Town of Mount Royal owes its distinctiveness, namely its garden city character.
“The by-law we’ve brought forward is designed to be fair and in accordance with the basic principles of sustainable development. It is not intended to interfere with citizens’ enjoyment of their property. On the contrary! We have chosen this approach because it is the least inconvenient for small property owners. Yet, at the same time, we are moving ahead with a series of measures that reflect, once again, the importance that environmental protection has for the current Council,” said Mayor Roy.