Large trees and vibrant foliage line Cormorant Point, one of Saanich’s many lookouts. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Updated tree protection bylaw could cost Saanich up to $50,000 more annually

Council decided the strengthened bylaw will apply to the District too

Saanich’s newly strengthened tree protection bylaw could cost the District up to $50,000 more per year as it won’t just apply to residents and developers.

Amendments to the bylaw – including security deposits and increased replacement tree requirements – were given three readings at a council meeting on Dec. 16.

The District will align itself with the replacement tree requirements listed in the amended bylaw and this will have financial implications for the municipality.

READ ALSO: Saanich strengthens tree protection bylaw, increases required replacement trees

Technically, because of the way the bylaw was written, the District doesn’t need to comply with the bylaw, noted Coun. Rebecca Mersereau, who pushed for the amendments in February as her first initiative on council.

However, council agreed that municipal staff should follow the same rules as residents to set an example, she explained. The District also set itself a goal of planting 10,000 trees by 2025 in response to the climate emergency so Saanich was already planning to add more trees, she emphasized.

The District won’t, however, need to pay the replacement tree security deposits in the same way as residents, explained Eva Riccius, senior manager of parks. The municipality will be using the highest replacement tree standard of three trees replanted for each one cut down for municipal projects, Riccius noted. In spots where there isn’t room to plant three replacement trees – such as areas where road work has been done – a security deposit will be held until the trees can be planted in parks or during other projects.

Based on a five-year average – typically the longest staff will care for trees – of costs to replace and care for trees and the increased replacement requirements, municipal staff expect to spend between $40,000 and $50,000 more annually. The money will come from the parks department’s small tree maintenance budget, Riccius noted.

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

The expense increase is largely due to the price of maintenance for the replacement trees – the extra staff time, the irrigation and care for the new trees will add up, Riccius explained.

According to a staff report, the bylaw amendments will increase tree permit fee revenue by about $1,000. The report also noted that the parks department will request that council grant an increase in resources during the 2020 budget cycle. The request includes adding a Bylaw Enforcement Lead position, a Tree Bylaw Clerk position and an Arboriculture Inspector position.

The amended bylaw has a final reading at a council meeting in January and staff will then update the website so residents can get informed, Riccius said.


@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

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Man who stole truck and canoe in View Royal believed he was fleeing zombies, court finds

Judge finds man not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder for 2019 thefts

Electrical issue causes heavy smoke to billow from Oak Bay Avenue coffee shop

Victoria and Oak Bay fire crews responded to smoke at Victoria café

Former Victoria Royals manager celebrates Stanley Cup win

Grant Armstrong is now an amateur scout with Tampa Bay Lightning

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Shoplifting suspect allegedly spits on worker at store in Nanaimo

Suspect became aggressive when confronted by loss prevention officer at Walmart, say RCMP

Survey finds doctors worry supplies of flu vaccine, PPE will lag demand

Canadian health officials have said additional flu vaccines have been ordered to meet expected demand

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Most Read