Central Saanich’s Tree Management Bylaw has been updated, with changes effective today.
The District has noted significant tree canopy loss since the year 2000. Coupled with the fact a significant amount of land in Central Saanich is cleared for farming, the District aims to slow down tree loss and increase tree canopy coverage over time.
Included in the bylaw update is the protection of trees 30 cm or more in diameter and a mandate that when a protected tree is removed it is replaced with up to three trees to enable the canopy to grow back quicker.
“Trees are a huge part of what make Central Saanich special,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor. “We are also doing what we can to mitigate the effects of climate change, and tree preservation plays a role in capturing and storing carbon, provide wildlife habitat and provide significant community benefits”
Tree preservation is a widely recognized measure to adapt to climate change by sequestering carbon, helping with storm water management, reducing the urban heat island effect, and providing habitat and enhancing biodiversity.
Council identified a Tree Protection Review in the 2019 Strategic Plan. District staff initiated a review of the current Tree Bylaw and, with the help of a consultant, drafted a new Tree Management Bylaw. After community input, the bylaw was revised; examples include changes to encourage replacement trees be native species and protecting mature Big-leaf Maples due to importance in First Nation culture and as wildlife habitat. Council adopted the new Bylaw on June 28, 2021.