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Saanich council embraces 3-30-300 rule to improve access to green space

Coun. Zac de Vries says rule promotes health and well-being through urban forestry
Embracing the urban forestry rule known as 3-30-300 could improve the community’s mental health, says Saanich Coun. Zac de Vries. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich council will look to its staff to adhere in future to guiding principles that give residents greater access to green space in urban communities.

Known as the 3-30-300 rule, the idea is that everyone should be able to see at least three trees from their home, that communities should ensure a 30 per cent tree canopy in all neighbourhoods, and that all residents should have a park within 300 metres of where they’re living.

Coun. Zac de Vries brought forward a motion at the June 14 council meeting to make the rule a council-endorsed guiding principle in the district’s ongoing work to bring more urban forestry and green space to Saanich. Council voted 8-1 in favour, with only Coun. Nathalie Chambers in opposition.

De Vries takes special interest in the importance of trees and green spaces within urban areas.

‘The 3-30-300 rule is about promoting health and well-being through urban forestry,” he wrote in a summary report. De Vries also referred to research demonstrating that having trees and parks in proximity to one’s residence improves mental health and overall well-being.

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“It’s very clear that urban forests provide such a wide range of essential benefits to our residents,” de Vries said later. “It improves and expands local urban forestry in a way that Saanich will be able to promote greater equity and health.”

Saanich staff remarked during the meeting that the rule very closely aligns with ideals Saanich Parks is actively working on implementing.

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