Oak Bay’s new tree bylaw will be presented to the public at an open house on Jan. 22. The updated bylaw supports Oak Bay’s plan to plant 5,000 trees by 2040 and bumping its urban canopy to 40 per cent. (Black Press Media File Photo)

New Oak Bay bylaw supports planting 5,000 new trees

Residents can share thoughts on new tree protection bylaw at Jan. 29 open house

Oak Bay will present its newly updated tree protection bylaw at an open house on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

By most accounts work on the bylaw is now complete. However, the manager of Oak Bay Parks Services, Chris Hyde-Lay, said they will summarize feedback from the open house and send it to the council.

The bylaw supports all five main objectives of the urban forest strategy: To protect and enhance canopy cover to approach 40 per cent by 2045. To support a healthy, well-adapted and diverse tree population. To manage the urban forest for community climate change adaptation. To strengthen natural heritage to support healthy ecological systems and biodiversity and to engage and partner with the community to build stewardship of the urban forest.

READ MORE: Oak Bay plants new program for national tree day

The bylaw especially protects any Garry oak, Pacific yew, Arbutus, Black hawthorn or Pacific dogwood with a base diameter greater than 10 centimetres or a height above two metres.

All other trees, if deemed healthy, are protected as long as they have a diameter “at breast height” greater than 60 cm.

Thus the bylaw will protect trees while Oak Bay also figures out how to work with residents and institutions to plant 5,000 new trees on private property by 2040. The easy part is planting 1,400 new trees on public land, Hyde-Lay said.

“One thing we really want to do is partner with the community to encourage stewards who plant Garry oaks and other [recommended] trees on private land,” Hyde-Lay said.

He estimates Oak Bay Parks will have planted about 300 trees when the tree-planting window ends in February.

“That number, if we keep it up, is on track to meet our goal for planting 1,400 new trees on public land,” Hyde-Lay said.

The Parks Services manager said that despite what people might believe, about 86 per cent of the trees that come down per year are diseased or dying. Only 14 per cent of the annual trees that come down in Oak Bay each year are for development. The 2019 number of trees lost will be released soon.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay tree removal denied due to climate crisis

Oak Bay’s new Grow Your Oaks campaign has also hit 70-plus Garry oaks since the fall.

“It’s still active and we are still taking applications,” Hyde-Lay pointed out.

The tree-planting initiative falls in line with the United Nation’s goal to plant one billion trees. Trees provide a wide range of climate benefits as they help regulate temperature, mitigate stormwater runoff and provide wildlife habitat.

Because of the resilience of Garry oak trees they are projected to adapt better than most trees in the warmer and drier climate of Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island’s famous red and yellow cedars are not on Oak Bay’s recommended list of trees to plant. Climate change is already blamed for the failure of the world’s biggest yellow and red cedars here on the Island.

Instead, go for a California or Giant redwood. But really, plant a Garry oak, Hyde-Lay said.

“What we want are trees that are going to be able to adapt to climate change, we’re not looking for Weeping willows,” Hyde-Lay said. “Garry oak is not just our namesake but it does well with the climate models.”

The open house for the tree protection bylaw is 5 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Oak Bay Municipal Hall.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay chief puts an end to dad jokes on police Twitter

No more jokes on Oak Bay Police Twitter account

First fall storm expected to hit Greater Victoria tonight

Heavy rainfall, winds expected over the next several days

Thieves harvest from 11 unlocked cars in Oak bay

Looting unlocked cars called ‘farming,’ says deputy chief

Friday night tickets affect Saturday behaviour at the University of Victoria

Saanich police see direct response after issuing several $230 fines

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

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

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Most Read