Editorial: Let’s rise to the tree preservation challenge

Word to the wise: anyone contemplating removing trees should contact the municipality ahead of time to determine if permits are required

While it’s too late for the blue atlas cedar that once graced Cavendish Road, with any luck the stiff, $30,000 penalty handed down to two individuals will give pause to anyone else considering cutting down a protected tree in the district.

With interesting timing, word of the penalty came as residents, council and the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission got their first look at the draft study reviewing the state of Oak Bay’s tree canopy.

“This is a good day for trees in Oak Bay,” said Mayor Nils Jensen. While the tree that was lost can’t be replaced as it was, the “significant fine sends a strong message that the illegal removal of trees will not be tolerated.”

And, word to the wise: anyone contemplating removing trees should contact the municipality ahead of time to determine if permits are required.

What has become clear through the study, and in residents’ communications with us, is what many already surmised: trees are important to Oak Bay – to the quality of life, the streetscape and to the greater environment.

Emphasizing this importance, Diamond Head Consulting presented a report with more than 30 recommendations to guide the community toward a tree canopy of 40 per cent by 2045, up from the current  33 per cent. While Oak Bay stands considerably better that many other jurisdictions, that’s about a two per cent loss of canopy since 2002.

While many in the district are concerned about the pressures of development on the existing canopy, significant impacts also come simply with the age of the trees themselves, parks manager Chris Hyde-Lay points out. Even given the best care, trees have a finite lifespan and many in Oak Bay are nearing  – or have passed – theirs.

All the more reason to look for solutions.

Given just a few days to review the report recommendations, a number of residents asked for more time to look it over more closely. It’s time they and council will have, as the consultants fine-tune the report post-presentation, incorporating feedback before bringing it back to the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission and then council.

Oak Bay has the opportunity to take a leadership role in urban forest preservation. Let’s rise to the challenge.

 

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

Just Posted

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

Mayor Rob Martin and Costa Canna president Phil Floucault cut the ribbon on Colwood’s first cannabis retail store. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Cowichan Tribes’ Costa Canna cannabis store opens in Colwood

Cowichan Tribes has one-year deal to grow, sell cannabis

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests: Greater Victoria teacher union

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read