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.

 

Just Posted

Hundreds gather at fundraising kickoff for ‘Kings Park’ purchase

Campaign to raise $2.75 million for the District of Saanich underway

Cloudy skies ahead for Thursday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Poutine With Purpose Pub Crawl supports local charity

Enjoy a pub favourite while helping to feed local kids

Spooky meets retro at the Victoria Vintage Halloween Fair

It’s never to early to start planning your costume

Oak Bay grants 60 days of protection for century-old mansion

J.W. Morris House slated for removal by Abstract Developments

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

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

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read