Saanich OKs review of 2014 tree bylaw

Sections of the 2014 Saanich tree bylaw will be reviewed for upgrades, said Coun. Judy Brownoff

Saanich trees may be getting a bit more protection, depending on the outcome of an upcoming review of one of the district’s environmental bylaws.

At Monday’s meeting, Saanich council approved a recommendation for the environment and natural areas committee to review the district’s tree protection bylaw. The review was spurred by residents who spoke to various applications and identified improvements that would potentially help the retention of protected trees in the development process.

Coun. Judy Brownoff, who submitted the report to council, said the review is an attempt to address issues that residents have raised around tree protection during the last few years.

“This month, I was approached by a resident who said that a property behind her had sold to a developer and there were protected trees removed without a permit,” recalled Brownoff. “The developer paid the fine and planted the replacement trees. The developer then flipped or sold the property and the new owner didn’t maintain the trees and they’re dead.

“She spoke to Saanich and was told because of a new owner, there was no real position we could take, and she wanted us to look at a bylaw to see if there was something we could do.”

Brownoff and other councillors noted the tree bylaw is distinct from Saanich’s EDPA bylaw and that the two should be treated independently.

“The tree bylaw is, to start with, a general bylaw that applies to all properties in Saanich for specific protection of trees,” said Coun. Vic Derman. “The EDPA applies to some properties for the protection of existing ecosystems or remnants of ecosystems and possible restoration.”

Derman added that it’s not uncommon to look at bylaws for potential improvements, and that any recommendations from the committee would trigger a staff report, followed by a bylaw amendment process, which would allow for adequate opportunity for public comment.

“Anything we do with the protection of trees and urban forest… will involve a multi-pronged attack,” he said. “We will need to plant lots of trees, and we will need to involve the public in doing that.”

Brownoff also said she’s heard from concerned residents about climate change and whether or not the district’s climate action lens applies to trees on the preferred tree list for plantings.

“My motion really is to have our environment and natural areas advisory committee have a look at the bylaw to see if these items I’ve raised can be addressed or should be addressed, and any other items that council may see going to them,” she said. “I expect that a report of motion will come back to this council, and it could be nothing will change or it could be a change would be appropriate.”

Coun. Dean Murdock echoed Brownoff’s sentiments, saying that a review may do a lot to address any shortcomings within the current bylaw.

“The committee may ultimately find that this bylaw is working as it should,” Murdock noted. “We really are not in a position to judge it at this point. I’m quite happy to see the committee take a look at it.

“This is actually part of an urban forest strategy, and I view that as the larger initiative of protecting and improving our tree cover in Saanich.”



Just Posted

Saanich councillor questions effectiveness of free transit passes for youth

Coun. Judy Brownoff said efforts should focus on improving service levels

Greater Victoria teacher’s certification suspended for inappropriate conduct with female students

Gregory Garos was employed by the District as a middle school teacher

Saanich pee wee lacross team takes home the gold at Provincials again

The Saanich Tigers clawed their way to first place at the Provincial championship in Delta

Victoria’s historic Point Ellice House re-opens after months of closure

A new exhibit will be on display at the house to explore the ‘Politics of Luxury’

Saanich councillor wants the municipality to support opponents of Quebec’s secularism bill

Councillors will debate notice of motion from Coun. Zac de Vries on Aug. 12

Rents in most Canadian cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners: study

Roughly one-third of households, or 4.7 million, are renters

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

Film features Chez Monique, an off-the-grid restaurant on West Coast Trail in B.C.

“The story we are trying to share is of the loving haven they created and sustained for decades.”

Psychics, drones being used to search for missing Chilliwack woman with dementia

Drones, psychics, dogs and more have been employed to help find Grace Baranyk, 86

Scheer on Trump: It’s ‘offensive’ to question the family background of critics

Trump is being called a racist for saying that the four congresswomen should go back where they came from

Instagram expands Canadian pilot removing ‘like’ counts to more countries

Social media giant plans to roll out the test in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, Italy and Ireland

Man involved in beating and tasering over a drug debt to be sentenced in Nanaimo

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne pleaded guilty to charges, including aggravated assault

Most Read