Canmore Council Votes to Remove all Trees on Town-Owned Property

Spring Creek With No Trees - BVN File Photo
Spring Creek will have all nuisance trees and bushes removed to protect against forest fires in Canmore

Canmore Town Council has caused quite the stir this past weekend with their bold decision to eliminate forest fire risk by removing all trees from town-owned land. Despite the controversy, experts say that eliminating trees on public property alone will reduce the risk of forest fires by over 50%.

Studies have proven that fewer trees in a given area translate to a lower risk of forest fires in that same given area.

To encourage homeowners to follow suit, the council plans to introduce a bylaw in the fall that imposes hefty fines of $25,000 for any offending tree or bush over one meter tall on private property.

Park without Trees -BVN File Photo
Centennial Park will have all offending trees and bushes removed to adhere to new Fire-Smart bylaw

According to Marty Underwood, a forest fire risk mitigation expert, cutting down the majority of trees in town could reduce the risk of forest fires in the town of Canmore by up to 100%. “This is literally the smartest thing we could ever have done,” he said.

Despite concerns raised by some locals, the decision has received praise from environmental groups for ensuring that problematic wildlife, such as bears, stay away from the townsite. The removal process is expected to take 6 months but may take up to 7 months due to chronic labor shortages in Canmore.

Burning Nordic Center - BVN File Photo
Failed attempts to thin trees in the past. Trees were not thinned nearly enough keeping forest fire risk high. Smarter forest fire mitigation techniques were badly needed. Thankfully today we have achieved victory.

To pay for the project, the town plans to increase taxes by just 10% for the next five years and then decrease them to only 8% for the five years after that. This is in addition to previously announced tax increases. However, the council believes that the cost is worth it to ensure a safe and sustainable future for Canmore.

Forest fire experts have pointed out that trendy, fashionable areas in large metropolitan cities like Paris, France or Cairo, Egypt have very few trees, if any, and have highly successful forest fire track records.

The council’s decision is seen as a groundbreaking example of a smart community putting an end to forest fires that so many other less forward-thinking communities have suffered for eons.

As a result, the town council has been nominated for the 2023 Environmental Sustainability Award for their act of global leadership and innovative approach to achieving a geniuine fire-smart community.

Happy April 1st Everybody.