Cutting down City of Saskatoon trees without permission could get residents in even more trouble in the near future.
Councillors on the environment, utilities, and corporate services committee have asked administration to look at tougher penalties for people who remove city-owned trees illegally.
“The punitive measures we have in the toolbox right now are not working,” said Ward Six Coun. Cynthia Block. “Some folks feel it’s simply the cost of doing business when building a home.”
The debate was sparked when three city trees were removed from a lot at 18th Street and Saskatchewan Crescent back in April.
City staff told the committee Monday the incident has been referred to Saskatoon police.
The current bylaw allows the city to collect a $10,000 fine and the replacement cost of the tree, which is an average of $20,000.
“I’d like to see a higher fine,” Block said. “I would also like the city to look seriously at an opportunity to replace the trees as quickly as possible.”
Some of the options the committee wants staff to explore are higher fines, criminal charges, and replacing the trees immediately.
“We just asked them to look at everything,” Block said. “We want them to put everything on the table to ensure this never happens again.”
Block doesn’t expect proposed options to come back to the committee until August.