HydroOne to clear all vegetation from Ontario St-Graham’s Lane corridor

On Nov. 5 I undertook a site visit with representatives of HydroOne travelling the hydro right-of-way between Ontario Street to the north side of Graham’s Lane. Beginning the week of Nov. 16, HydroOne will be removing the vegetation within 55 feet of the center of the hydro lines on either side. They will be delivering a community notice (below) to residents along the corridor explaining this work.

Community Notice Burlington TS x Federal Pier _Ward 2


When transmission lines are overloaded, especially with the summer heat and humidity, lines can sag 15 to 20 feet. On Aug. 14, 2003 an already overloaded transmission line sagged too low, causing a flashover to nearby vegetation and a surge in current. A software bug in the alarm system at an energy company in Ohio left operators unaware of the need to re-distribute power from the line, causing a massive widespread blackout affecting the US and parts of Ontario.

In February 2004, the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force released a report from its investigation, saying the blackout was due to four things, one of which was a failure to manage the tree growth in the transmission rights-of-way.

Hydro clearance considerationsSince then, regulatory bodies have become more strict with maintenance around hydro wires. HydroOne is now required to remove all vegetation within both the “wire zone” and the “border zone” of hydro lines. (See diagram). From outside edge to outside edge is a 110 ft clearance, 55 ft on each side measured from the middle of the hydro tower.

What will be removed?

At one time, HydroOne would prune vegetation and allow trees to remain. Pruning and topping off is not an option anymore and HydroOne can face hefty fines from regulatory agencies.

Most of the vegetation on east side of the corridor falls within the 55 foot zone and will be removed. In addition, trees overhanging from private yards within 55 feet of the lines will need to be trimmed. Hydro One will be knocking on the doors of the affected properties.

The trees at the northeast corner of Elgin and Brock near the benches will be removed. Also, several residents have planted trees or shrubs in the middle of the hydro right-of-way in the northern end of the corridor. These are unauthorized plantings and will be removed (see photos below).


image8To compensate for the trees being removed, HydroOne provided the city with a financial contribution to plant trees elsewhere. In this area, trees will be planted in nearby parks.

In addition, I am in conversation with city staff about using some funds to beautify the trail head at Ontario Street and the hydro corridor, by replacing the concrete blocks (photo right) with perhaps bollards. Those conversations are ongoing.

In the city’s master plan, a paved multi-use path is planned for the length of the corridor in 2018.

How will the vegetation be removed?

In some areas, workers will be on foot pruning. In other areas, grinders, excavators and bulldozers will be used. The vegetation that is removed will be replaced with grass only.

Next Steps:

Beginning Monday, Nov. 9, HydroOne staff will be knocking on the doors of those residents that have vegetation in their yards that encroach into the hydro right-of-way. HydroOne will also be hand delivering a letter to all residents abutting the hydro corridor.


More information will be provided in the letter being hand delivered. Residents can email HydroOne at or telephone 1-877-345-6799.

My Take:

I hate to see the trees and shrubs removed, but understand that this is the new requirement to ensure safety and uninterrupted power supply. Residents still have the option to plant privacy screenings on their side of the fence outside the corridor width. I will be working with staff to try to get some funding for improving the trail head area at Ontario Street, at the very least replacing the concrete blocks with more decorative posts that prevent vehicular traffic from entering the corridor.

Tree on private property with branches overhanging into hydro corridor area. Branches will be trimmed after conversation with property owner.
Shrubs in the middle of the corridor, where the path splits, will be removed.










Trees on hydro corridor that will be removed.
Vegetation that will be removed.
Large trees in the middle of the corridor that will be removed.
Trees and cedars planted within the hydro right-of-way will be removed.
Trees and cedars planted within the hydro right-of-way will be removed.


Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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  1. We are absolutely shocked at the real and implied power that Hydro One has and their desire to remove 43 beautiful trees from our “private ” property. It take place Tuesday December 8 @ 1375 Stephenson Drive. 🙁

  2. So now that the deed has been done and the vegetation has been absolutely obliterated. What can be done to make the appropriate parties know that we want a path like north burlington has? It’s only 1.3k and pales in comparison to the 5k path that north burlington has.

  3. We often walk this corridor path and wonder why our path has never been paved like so many other hydro corridor’s around this city. With all the activities that go on all year at the beach and Spenser Smith park this is a great walking, riding place to take a lot of the foot and bike traffic off the streets, and is a much safer route!

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