Significant depends on what you breathe

January 30, 2008

Jonathon Sher reports in Woodlands’ fate in hands of OMB:

A two-week hearing before the Ontario Municipal Board ended with lawyers for the city and an activist defending a policy that protects most of the city’s larger woodlands against development. Under that policy, adopted by council in 2006, the city expects to declare as significant — and protect — about 96 per cent of woodlands that are at least four hectares. An older policy protected as little as 25 per cent of those woodlands.

The arguments are being challenged by Developers and their lawyers:
But his argument and that of the city was challenged by lawyer Barry Card, who’s representing developers such as Farhi Holdings, Sifton Properties, Drewlo Holdings, Z-Group and a lobby group that represents the industry, the London Development Institute.
Rather than make changes by amending the city’s official plan, a labour-intensive step that engages the public and experts, the city adopted a new policy, Card said.
“It really amounts to a sell-out of the planning process,” he said.
Under old rules, a woodland wasn’t significant unless it rated high in three of several categories that include size, composition, age and history. New rules require only a single high rating.
“That takes 1,000 hectares (of woodlands) off the table,” Card said.

That takes 1000 hectares of trees off the protected state and allows them to be clearcut to build suburbs, driveways, roads and golf ball driving ranges. In an earlier story, Debate blooming again over London’s tree-protection policy from Wed, January 16, 2008 By PATRICK MALONEY, SUN MEDIA, Card said:

“It’s not about whether significant woodlands will be protected — but whether insignificant woodlands will be protected,” said lawyer Barry Card, who is representing a consortium of local developers at the hearing. “Developers like treed communities. What they don’t like is a change of the rules that’s arbitrary or ill-advised.”

I guess breathing is ill-advised. Developers like treed communities because the houses on the edge of the woodlot sell for more money. Funny. Seems people like trees. They like cars, and they like trees. From Trees In Trust;

An acre of trees absorb enough carbon dioxide in a year to equal the amount produced when you drive a car (41,000 km). (North Carolina State University Trees of Strength).

Now get out a calculator.

if 1000 hectares = 2471.05381 acres

then 1 acre = .40468564224 hectare

1 acre can deal with the CO2 from 1 car driving 41,000 km so

the CO2 absorption per hectare would be… 41,000 x .40468 or 16,592.085 km

Let’s do some looking for the average mileage of a vehicle in a year. What’s the average mileage of a second hand car? The average mileage on Canadian car works out to between 10,000 and 15,000 k per year, so let’s say 12500 k.
Now, from TRANSPORTATION: Road vehicles Canada averages .58 vehicles per person, where the average for OECD countries is .5. According to Wikipedia, the population of London is 457720. We commonly round this to 450000. This gives us a vehicle count of between 225000 and 265477.

Let’s do some rounding:

CO2 per hectare: 16,500 -> 16000 -> 4

year avg mileage: 12,500 -> 12000 -> 3

So, 1.33 cars per hectare. 1000 hectares support the annual CO2 emissions from 130,000 cars, and London should have about twice that many vehicles.

Ask yourself then, is 1000 hectares an insignificant woodlot?

Mr. Card and this developer consortium argue that it’s good policy to cut out your lungs. Ironically, trees support urban sprawl. The more trees you have, the more CO2 from cars you can support.

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