Update: Hydro One Delays Clear-cut for Three Weeks

Dear Residents:  The following email was received from Hydro One on October 26, 2015.

Mayor Guthrie, Councillor Piper and Councillor Downer,

Thank you for participating in Hydro One’s information session last Thursday evening, and thank you Councillor Downer for following up.

Hydro One will step back temporarily from the scheduled start date of October 27 for vegetation management work on the corridor.  We would like to work with the City to set out a process and a timeline that will enable the City to decide which of the two presented options it wishes to pursue for the proposed buffer zone on the Pacific Place side of the corridor.  To this end, we would like to meet with you and the appropriate staff as soon as possible.

You are likely aware that, since Thursday’s meeting, we have also received a formal request from a designated representative of the community to defer our work indefinitely.  Unfortunately, Hydro One, in good conscience, cannot defer this work indefinitely or even into next year.  We will be looking to begin the work within the next three weeks.  Current vegetation conditions on this corridor represent an unacceptable risk for both public and worker safety and reliability of power supply to the community.

Additionally, from an environmental perspective, fall is the optimal time of year to undertake this type of work, and we do not want to lose the window. We also need to ensure clear and safe access for crews to install the tele-protection wire on the 230 kV towers later this fall.  This wire will monitor the upgraded transmission facilities currently being constructed as part of the Guelph Area Transmission Refurbishment (GATR) project. These facilities are scheduled to be placed in service next year to meet growing electricity needs and improve reliability of supply for Guelph and the surrounding communities.

Hydro One’s goal is to transition its corridors into a more sustainable, low-growing and native plant communities that will be compatible with our transmission facilities over the long term.  While we recognize that some people may not agree with this approach to vegetation maintenance, we believe there is great potential for the City to involve the community in redefining this green space for public use after Hydro One has removed the dense, and mostly invasive, vegetation.  As discussed, Hydro One is willing to contribute funding for replanting of compatible species.

Please let us know of your availability to meet this week.


Sr Advisor, Corporate Relations
Hydro One Networks Inc.

MEETING: Hydro One Hosting Neighbourhood Meeting

We received an email notice from Hydro One confirming that they have arranged to host a neighbourhood meeting to present and discuss the clear-cut removal of vegetation along the Cedar/Water/Hanlon transmission corridor.  Details are as follows:

Date: Thursday, October 22, 2015

Time:  6:30 – 8:30 pm

Location:  Pine Tree A Room, Best Western Hotel and Conference Centre (716 Gordon Street).

If there are any further details provided to us by Hydro One (ie. agenda), we will share them here.

UPDATE: Hydro One Meeting with City Officials

On Tuesday, October 13, Hydro One forestry and communications staff met with city officials (Forestry and Environmental staff, as well as a political representatives) on site.  Hydro One was presented with a petition from residents regarding the removal of all vegetation along the transmission corridor from Cedar Street to the Hanlon.


The meeting covered a wide range of questions and concerns that we have heard clearly from residents, namely:

  • one week’s notice on the Friday before Thanksgiving weekend is unacceptable
  • why a clear cut approach at a time when urban forestry renewal is best practice?
  • what other options are there to preserve buffer trees along property lines?
  • why the rush to start work next week?
  • better communication with residents is essential
  • a resident meeting was proposed to better define the work to be done
  • what native restoration species is best for the area?

We left the meeting with some progress made, although Hydro One was very clear about their intent to use a clear cut method of removal rather than selective individual removals.  They were also clear that cedar and native hardwood would not meet the criteria to remain along the corridor due to height.

The following was agreed to by all parties when we left the site meeting:

  • Hydro One will delay the start of the project for one week
  • Hydro One will host a resident meeting (next week likely Tuesday or Thursday)
  • City staff will meet with Hydro One reps later this week to review the restoration plan and to advocate for the use of native pollinator species to enhance this corridor for wildlife habitat
  • Hydro One staff will review boundary tree retention with each resident along Pacific Place individually this week to determine whether a buffer can be maintained on some individual properties

As new information becomes available, we will post it here on the Ward 5 website.

NOTICE: Hydro One to Clear Vegetation Along Speed River Corridor

Dear Residents:  Cathy and I became aware on Friday that Hydro One has issued notices to residents along Pacific Place of its intent to remove all vegetation along its hydro transmission corridor from Cedar Street to the Hanlon Expressway.  See area map below.  The area is adjacent to a popular trail network and home to a diverse range of wildlife.  The largest area of impact will be Silvercreek Park (city-owned land) south of the Speed River.  The removal of all vegetation will drastically alter the character of this well-used natural area.

A number of questions have been raised about the extent of the work, its regulatory necessity, and the impact this clearcut approach will have on residents, trail users and wildlife.  The City’s Urban Forest plan promotes the retention of native, healthy tree cover wherever possible on public and private land.  Residents have also called and emailed with concerns about noise and wind buffering, herbicide application and the loss of privacy if all vegetation is removed.

We are also very concerned that the public notice issued by Hydro One implies that the City of Guelph is supportive of the planned approach.  This is simply not true.  City Forestry staff are supportive of the removal of invasive species, such as European Buckthorn, but do not support the unnecessary removal of healthy, native species.

City Forestry staff comments on this matter are provided below:

…while the City of Guelph forestry staff accepts that Hydro One has the legislative authority to undertake this work, we have not been asked for our approval or permission, but rather, like other stakeholders, we have been given notice. We recognize some gain in the undertaking; specifically, that the substantial area of mature buckthorn, an invasive exotic, will be replaced eventually by native grassland species. On the other hand, there are existing pockets of native trees and shrubs that we’d be quite happy to keep on the landscape, if that were possible.”

Cathy and I will be meeting with Hydro One staff on Tuesday, along with our City Forestry staff, to better understand the extent of the work and what is required by law and what is discretionary.  We will be advocating for minimal impact on the trails and adjacent property.

Further information will be posted here once we know more.

If you have any concerns or questions, please direct your comments to Hydro One (with a copy to leanne.piper@guelph.ca and cathy.downer@guelph.ca).

The contact address for Hydro One is:

Ani Bekmezian, Community Relations Officer

Tel: 1-877-345-6799 or by email at Community.Relations@HydroOne.com

Map of Proposed Vegetation Removal Area

Copy of Notice to Residents from Hydro One