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The City of Courtenay has been researching and drafting changes to its tree bylaw for a couple of years, as it hasn’t seen any updates since 2006. Staff worked on the recommendations for the new tree bylaw for most of 2016 and many of you got involved with the public consultation.

The proposed Tree Bylaw has been drafted to provide the following objectives:

  1. Set a target number of trees that must be retained or replanted on all properties, depending on property size. (Achieves more clarity of tree management expectations.)
  2. Require the same standard for existing and new developments. However, retention will be prioritized on new developments, and flexibility will be provided in meeting targets for existing properties by means of retaining trees, replanting trees or paying into the Tree Fund. (Allows more lands to be included in the Bylaw, but provides flexibility for infill developments.)
  3. Apply to all lands within the City, and include more species under special protection. (Achieves more uniform canopy cover expectations across the City, thereby distributing the benefits and costs more evenly.)
  4. Implement new permit fees and security requirements. (Reflects the administrative efforts required to administer a variety of tree management scenarios, from simple to complex.) Council Agenda November 7th, 2016. Pg 48.

Bylaws are complex by nature and this one is no exception. It has had a few different drafts and it’s much too complex for me to try and summarize here. There was much talk and confusion between the stems per hectare vs. canopy cover. See the link(s) provided below.

At the meeting on September 19th, 2016,  David Stapley, on behalf of the Comox Valley Conservation Strategy came as a delegation in regards to our proposed tree bylaw. 

On November 7th, Council had the Development and Construction Association come before Council as a delegation in regards to our tree bylaw.

One group states that the tree bylaw is not aggressive enough and the other states that it’s too aggressive.

At the November 7th meeting there was a vote to create a select committee relating to tree protection and management. This vote passed four to three and the committee is now in deliberations.

It is composed of Doug Hillian, Erik Eriksson, Larry Jangula

Derek Jensen, Comox Valley Development and Construction Assoc. and

David Stapley, Comox Valley Conservation Strategy.

This committee is to bring its findings to council on February 10th.

A big part of the new bylaw has to do with how new lands (Greenfields) are developed. Should developers be able to pay into a pot for new trees? Or should higher retention rates be enforced? What kind of effect will it have on developments? Nothing is simple, but let’s talk about how trees are managed in our city. Please read the proposed changes or watch the videos from the meetings.

Talk of bylaw starts at 55:50