More trees protected in municipality

Fines increase for not replacing felled foliage

All trees are created equal, whether on a big or small lot.

Four species of protected trees, no matter what their size; and all other species of tree measuring 60 or more centimetres around at chest-height will be equally safeguarded on private properties from now on.

Until this week, those two categories of trees were not protected when they fell inside the allowable building space on a lot less than 1,500 square metres. They were, however, protected on lots larger than 1,500 sq. m.

“The long and short of it is that all lots are now treated the same in regards to tree protection and building envelopes,” said municipal arborist Chris Paul.

Where construction is involved, a permit will be needed to remove protected trees that lie outside the home’s footprint.

The protected species are Garry oak, Arbutus, Pacific (Western) yew and Pacific (western flowering) dogwood.

Owners must replace removed trees within six months or face a fine. Increased fines for such infractions were also approved at council this week, rising from $500 to $750. Fines for taking down trees without permits jumped from $500 to $1,000.

Currently, five property owners have not yet planted replacement trees within the alloted time, Paul said.

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com