Ontario Pesticide Ban Results:
[Gerard Hunt was the one who brainstomed the idea of converting the Kingstons Golf Course into a Solar Farm.]
Dead highway trees bad for city's image, Council tells MTO
Posted Feb 28, 2013 By Bill Hutchins
City council is asking the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to start doing regular tree maintenance along a 37-kilometre stretch of the Highway 401 corridor through Kingston.
Coun. Jeff Scott says dead or dying trees along the highway do not create a good first impression for tourists. "They've got trees out there that are completely dead right in the middle of the highway and they just don't look great for a tourist town."
Coun. Scott says MTO changed its highway landscaping policy so only trees that are a threat to traffic are removed. His motion asks the ministry to restore regular highway maintenance to include the "pruning of dead tree limbs and the removal of dead trees for aesthetic reasons."
"It's improper maintenance," he says of MTO's current policy. "We couldn't get away with that in the City of Kingston. We have property standards bylaws to make sure residents don't do that to their neighbours."
Coun. Scott plans to present the council-approved motion to transportation minister Glen Murray at the upcoming Ontario Good Roads conference, along with a series of photographs to illustrate his point that barren highway trees are an eyesore.
He says there's a certain irony to the MTO's practice of planting new trees along the 401, but no policy to properly maintain them. He points to newly-planted trees along the recently reconstructed interchange at the 401 and Division Street. "One area has new trees and there are dead ones nearby."
He added: "Why on earth are you planting new trees when you have no intention of maintaining them."
City council has extended the contract of its chief administrative officer (CAO) for another five years.
Gerard Hunt, who first became Kingston city hall's CAO in 2008, will have his contract renewed until the fall of 2018. "This will be my second term," he added.
Hunt says he's looking forward to meeting the challenge of balancing service priorities while keeping property taxes as low as possible – dual policies of council.
He touts the phased-in launch of Kingston Transit's new express service, in 2013 and 2015, as important accomplishments of the next few years.
Hunt also says conflicting meeting schedules will delay council's upcoming strategic priority meetings to April. The sessions will determine council's priorities for its remaining two years in office.
Hunt is also city hall's highest paid bureaucrat, pulling in a salary of more than $191,000 in 2011.