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

West Shore RCMP seeks help identifying suspected Skilsaw thief in Langford

RCMP asks public to help identify suspect from Canadian Tire theft on Feb. 16

Two Scout leaders found near Sooke

The pair went missing Sunday afternoon

CatVideoFest makes its way back to Victoria

A curation of favourite cat videos will be featured on the big screen, all to support cats

Bachman/Cummings show part of a rockin’ summer in Victoria

Fans of classic rock can experience reunion concert July 6 at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre

West Shore centre hosts queer youth safe sex event

AVI Health and Community Services Feb. 26 event to promote safe sex

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

The Vancouver-based company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta

B.C. VIEWS: Pipeline dispute highlights need for clarity

As the B.C. treaty process grinds on, uncertainty remains

Most Read