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

Colwood man to ride 400 kilometres to fight kids cancer

Man riding for a beloved family member who died from leukemia at 13-years-old

Saanich woman completes 10 marathons, raises double her initial goal amount

Over $20,000 raised for Victoria Hospitals Foundation

UPDATED: Missing 25-year-old Saanich woman found Saturday

Yuhan Jin thought to be travelling by foot or bus, carrying two suitcases

Victoria program helps businesses shift swiftly in wake of COVID-19

Bring Back Victoria helps businesses open patios, create welcoming, safe spaces for customers

Peninsula businesses launch amidst COVID-19

New music school, martial arts studio, pet food store, welcomed with warm community response

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Most Read