Oak Bay’s new tree bylaw will be presented to the public at an open house on Jan. 22. The updated bylaw supports Oak Bay’s plan to plant 5,000 trees by 2040 and bumping its urban canopy to 40 per cent. (Black Press Media File Photo)

New Oak Bay bylaw supports planting 5,000 new trees

Residents can share thoughts on new tree protection bylaw at Jan. 29 open house

Oak Bay will present its newly updated tree protection bylaw at an open house on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

By most accounts work on the bylaw is now complete. However, the manager of Oak Bay Parks Services, Chris Hyde-Lay, said they will summarize feedback from the open house and send it to the council.

The bylaw supports all five main objectives of the urban forest strategy: To protect and enhance canopy cover to approach 40 per cent by 2045. To support a healthy, well-adapted and diverse tree population. To manage the urban forest for community climate change adaptation. To strengthen natural heritage to support healthy ecological systems and biodiversity and to engage and partner with the community to build stewardship of the urban forest.

READ MORE: Oak Bay plants new program for national tree day

The bylaw especially protects any Garry oak, Pacific yew, Arbutus, Black hawthorn or Pacific dogwood with a base diameter greater than 10 centimetres or a height above two metres.

All other trees, if deemed healthy, are protected as long as they have a diameter “at breast height” greater than 60 cm.

Thus the bylaw will protect trees while Oak Bay also figures out how to work with residents and institutions to plant 5,000 new trees on private property by 2040. The easy part is planting 1,400 new trees on public land, Hyde-Lay said.

“One thing we really want to do is partner with the community to encourage stewards who plant Garry oaks and other [recommended] trees on private land,” Hyde-Lay said.

He estimates Oak Bay Parks will have planted about 300 trees when the tree-planting window ends in February.

“That number, if we keep it up, is on track to meet our goal for planting 1,400 new trees on public land,” Hyde-Lay said.

The Parks Services manager said that despite what people might believe, about 86 per cent of the trees that come down per year are diseased or dying. Only 14 per cent of the annual trees that come down in Oak Bay each year are for development. The 2019 number of trees lost will be released soon.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay tree removal denied due to climate crisis

Oak Bay’s new Grow Your Oaks campaign has also hit 70-plus Garry oaks since the fall.

“It’s still active and we are still taking applications,” Hyde-Lay pointed out.

The tree-planting initiative falls in line with the United Nation’s goal to plant one billion trees. Trees provide a wide range of climate benefits as they help regulate temperature, mitigate stormwater runoff and provide wildlife habitat.

Because of the resilience of Garry oak trees they are projected to adapt better than most trees in the warmer and drier climate of Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island’s famous red and yellow cedars are not on Oak Bay’s recommended list of trees to plant. Climate change is already blamed for the failure of the world’s biggest yellow and red cedars here on the Island.

Instead, go for a California or Giant redwood. But really, plant a Garry oak, Hyde-Lay said.

“What we want are trees that are going to be able to adapt to climate change, we’re not looking for Weeping willows,” Hyde-Lay said. “Garry oak is not just our namesake but it does well with the climate models.”

The open house for the tree protection bylaw is 5 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Oak Bay Municipal Hall.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore pool stays closed for 2020

Juan de Fuca Recreation centre swimming could return in 2021

New branch of Royal BC Museum to be built in Colwood

New faclity in the Royal Bay development will house collections, archives and research department

Fall issue of Pearl now out

A treasure trove of Saanich Peninsula stories

North Saanich among six communities facing ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Findings appear in a report that also analyzed daycare in Central Saanich and Sidney

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read