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

Victoria’s little free libararies get 5,000th book

Volunteers have been dropping off books around Greater Victoria since 2017

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

Shamrocks hold 1-0 lead over Burrards

Bob Heyes said it is going to be a different game on Sunday in Maple Ridge

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

BREAKING: Evacuation order issued in Island village due to “risk of falling debris”

Several homes in Zeballos are under an evacuation order as wildfires continue… Continue reading

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Most Read