Tree Protection Bylaw Review

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The North Saanich tree canopy plays an important role in the health and well-being of the North Saanich natural environment and community. This bylaw aims to find a balanced approach to protect the District's tree canopy for current and future residents, while providing some flexibility for residents to manage the trees on their land.

About the Tree Protection Bylaw

The North Saanich Tree Protection Bylaw regulates the cutting, removal or damaging of trees on private property. It was adopted in 2002. Since then, North Saanich’s community forest and the challenges it faces have evolved. The District is reviewing its Tree Protection Bylaw to align with current best practices and conditions, while ensuring it responds to community values. The review will include establishing requirements for replacing protected trees.

We are in Phase 2: Draft Bylaw Update

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the draft Tree Protection Bylaw. We have summarized what we heard in the Phase 2 Report: Engagement on Key Directions. On Monday, August 16 Council reviewed the Phase 2 report and considered alternatives to the Key Directions in response to what we've heard from you. The Project Team expect to bring back the revised engagement plan, work plan and budget later this fall.

Please subscribe for project updates to stay informed.

The North Saanich tree canopy plays an important role in the health and well-being of the North Saanich natural environment and community. This bylaw aims to find a balanced approach to protect the District's tree canopy for current and future residents, while providing some flexibility for residents to manage the trees on their land.

About the Tree Protection Bylaw

The North Saanich Tree Protection Bylaw regulates the cutting, removal or damaging of trees on private property. It was adopted in 2002. Since then, North Saanich’s community forest and the challenges it faces have evolved. The District is reviewing its Tree Protection Bylaw to align with current best practices and conditions, while ensuring it responds to community values. The review will include establishing requirements for replacing protected trees.

We are in Phase 2: Draft Bylaw Update

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the draft Tree Protection Bylaw. We have summarized what we heard in the Phase 2 Report: Engagement on Key Directions. On Monday, August 16 Council reviewed the Phase 2 report and considered alternatives to the Key Directions in response to what we've heard from you. The Project Team expect to bring back the revised engagement plan, work plan and budget later this fall.

Please subscribe for project updates to stay informed.

  • Deep Cove Elementary Presentation

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    At the June 7, 2021 Council Meeting a video presentation was shared by Grade 3 - 5 Deep Cove Elementary students. It was prepared for North Saanich Mayor and Council with the regards to the review of the Tree Protection Bylaw. As mentioned in their video the students understand that community voices, including theirs is important.

    View the video.

    Thanks again to the Deep Cove students for their interest in this project and the future of North Saanich.

  • Phase 2 Overview

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    The Project Team has prepared the draft Tree Protection Bylaw for your review. The draft Tree Protection Bylaw reflects the findings from the Key Directions in Phase 1 and works to address the challenges raised by Council, community members, stakeholders and District staff.

    As part of Phase 2 there are two ways to get involved by:

    • attending a virtual presentation and Q&A session on May 11 at 7 p.m.
    • completing the Phase 2 Survey on the draft Tree Protection Bylaw by May 31.
      • the short form survey takes approximately 5 minutes to complete, whereas the long form survey take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

    The Phase 2 Survey enables respondents to observe the effects of the draft bylaw on specific tree protection contexts as compared to the current bylaw and rate the satisfaction of results. Open ended questions provide for unscripted responses. This allows participants with a clearer sense of trade-offs and impacts of the draft bylaw changes before the bylaw proceeds to Council.

    This feedback will help further shape the draft Tree Protection Bylaw. At the conclusion of Phase 2 the Project Team will present to Council a:

    • final report
    • draft Tree Protection Bylaw
    • draft species list
    • draft District Tree Policy for Municipal Lands; and the
    • Phase 2 engagement summary.
  • Phase 1 Overview

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    Phase 1 Background Review and Key Directions

    The District initiated the review of the Tree Bylaw in the fall of 2020. Phase 1 focused on assessing the current community context, reviewing the state of best practices in aboriculture and urban forestry, comparing the Tree Protection Bylaw with the bylaw of similar municipalities and engaging the public to understand their priorities and shared values in protection trees on private land. The Phase 1 Background Review and Key Directions report summarizes this work.

    Phase 1 Engagement Summary

    The goal for engagement during the first project phase was to involve the community in identifying concerns and aspirations related to the management of private trees in the District.

    Community engagement was conducted online due to COVID-19 restrictions and included:

    • Four online community workshops
    • Connect North Saanich online engagement using the following tools:
      • Survey
      • Questions and answers; and
      • Ideas
    • One staff workshop
    • Three District Commission presentations (Community Agricultural Commission, Community Planning Commission, Community Stewardship Commission)

    More details on each of these activities including engagement stats and key themes are outlined within The Phase 1 Engagement Summary.

    Next Steps: Phase 2 Draft Bylaw Update

    At the Special Committee of the Whole Meeting on March 18, 2021 Council received the Phase 1 Engagement Summary, endorsed the Background Review and Key Directions report and endorsed the revised Project Charter and revised Engagement Plan. As per Council's direction we are now in Phase 2 where we will prepare a full draft Tree Protection Bylaw for public review.

    Further Background

    Why regulate trees in North Saanich?

    Trees improve quality of life in North Saanich by capturing rainwater and returning it to the soil, cleaning the air, shading and cooling streets and buildings, stabilizing steep slopes, and providing people with opportunities to connect with and relax in nature. Trees also provide habitat for birds, wildlife and other living things while being part of broader ecological connectivity, ecosystem function and overall ecosystem integrity. The ecosystem services that trees provide also improve our community’s resilience to climate hazards such as extreme heat and rainfall events.

    However, trees also need to be removed sometimes, for example, when they are in poor health, are unsafe or for development when it is consistent with our Official Community Plan and permitted zoning. Tree Bylaws are used by many communities in BC to regulate the protection and replacement of trees.

    How are trees regulated in North Saanich?

    The District manages trees on public land and administers a Tree Protection Bylaw that regulates the cutting, removal or damaging of trees on private property. As part of this review, recommendations will be made to update the Tree Protection Bylaw to respond to today’s challenges and reflect the values of the community. A District Tree Policy will also be developed to guide the protection and replacement of trees on District-owned lands.

Page last updated: 24 August 2021, 09:07