Capital Tree Service felled a set of Garry oaks along Finnerty Road in February for upgrades to bike lanes and sidewalks. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Saanich strengthens tree protection bylaw, increases required replacement trees

The amendments will ‘ensure the protection of our urban forests,’ says one councillor

Saanich residents seeking permits to cut down trees will now need to contend with increased requirements and costs.

Council unanimously approved amendments to Saanich tree protection bylaw during a committee of the whole meeting on Dec. 16.

In March, council endorsed four recommendations to strengthen the bylaw, two of which have been addressed in the recent amendments – increasing tree replacements, security deposits to ensure the trees are planted and other administrative updates.

READ ALSO: Councillor wants to plant improvements in Saanich’s tree protection bylaw

Coun. Ned Taylor explained that council members felt that proposed adjustments to the bylaw would have a positive impact on the District. When tackling tree replacement in a “case-by-case” fashion, it’s tougher to make change, he explained.

With a blanket adjustment that will affect all future tree cutting permit applicants, Saanich can “ensure the protection of our urban forests,” Taylor said. He noted that there District must strike a balance between protecting trees and allowing development to contend with the housing crisis.

For each tree to be altered or cut, the amended bylaw outlines the number and size of trees required to replace it.

One replacement tree is required if a permit applicant proves a tree is hazardous, impedes the operation of utilities, may affect a building’s foundation walls, is on rural lands or has been deemed inappropriate for its location by an arborist. A security deposit of $300 per tree will now be required under these circumstances. Security deposits will be returned once bylaw officers confirm the replacement tree is in good health.

For trees cut down because they were growing within a building’s blueprints or because the tree was impeding the construction of a driveway, parking area, septic tank or utility corridor, two replacement trees will be required. Three trees will be required for trees removed because they’re in the way of construction of a road, access route or service of a bare land strata subdivision as approved by the Director of Engineering. A security deposit of $700 per tree will be required in situations where two or three replacement trees are needed.

READ ALSO: Garry oaks come down on Finnerty Road

The Director of Parks and Recreation can waive the replacement tree requirements depending on the situation. No replacement trees are required for protected trees permitted for removal if they are in the Interface Fire Development Area and have been deemed a fire hazard or are on the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Taylor pointed out that one of the District’s responses to declaring a climate emergency was to pledge to plant 10,000 trees by 2025 – requiring that the municipality plant double the number of trees typically planted annually. He feels the updated Tree Protection Bylaw will ensure that residents and developers are also adding trees to the area.

Council will be presented with further potential adjustments to the bylaw in 2020.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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

Just Posted

Conflict expert explains how to talk to people who aren’t social distancing

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

COVID-19: Managing your mental health from isolation

Ministry of Mental Health, Addictions recommends numerous strategies for self-care during pandemic

Saanich moves forward with summer camp registration despite COVID-19

District to give full refunds if camps are cancelled

Sunday morning fire damages Victoria gas station

The fire on Fairfield Road caused $75,000 in estimated damages to tires and automotive equipment

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Most Read