Beaconsfield EAB bylaw allows inspectors on private property

‘We don’t abuse the privilege,’
Director general Patrice Boileau

By Kevin Woodhouse

In order for the city of Beaconsfield to correctly assess the number of ash trees within its territory, the city’s new emerald ash borer (EAB) bylaw allows for inspectors to go onto homeowners’ property.

According to director general Patrice Boileau, “we have a responsibility to take the inventory of all ash trees and their dimensions. For the small minority of people who got back to us not wanting to go on their property, we would try to estimate the trees from the street.”

Resident Dennis Partington was one such citizen not interested in having inspectors in his yard. He wrote to Boileau expressing his concern and was informed that while “the idea of the program is to have everyone working in the same direction”, the director general noted that”if a resident is not interested in having the city to access their property, we will gracefully respect that. Our inspectors did receive the directive not to access a private property if that was the wish of the resident.”

“It is in the best interest for all if we are able to know how many ash trees we have within city limits,” Boileau told The Suburban.

Next up for the municipality will be to complete an inventory of all ash trees found within Angell Woods with the final numbers to come soon. At the beginning of September, Diana Shahmoon of Seda Holdings, one of the major property owners of Angell Woods, indicated via electronic-mail to Boileau that she “absolutely does not give Beaconsfield permission to enter my private property in Angell Woods.”

Boileau informed Shahmoon that, due to the provincial law, city inspectors have the right to count ash trees on her property and that failing to allow this procedure as “the owner is under the obligation to let him access his property, failing which a court order can by sought for by the town to force the access.”

In lieu of that, Boileau urged Shahmoon to allow the inspection.

Shahmoon told The Suburban via e-mail that “punitive nature of the bylaw is not appropriate and that the city combines that “with the coercive lengths of a court order to which the city apparently is prepared to go to private properties so they can compile their ash tree inventory. The combination seems to me to be such a severe over reach of municipal power that should scare to death every property owner in Beaconsfield.”

Meanwhile in Pointe Claire, the city announced through a press release, the only way the city communicates these days in lieu of interviews or press events, that they too are being proactive in combating EAB, noting that 500 trees on public land had been treated with TreeAzin.

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