Council met to discuss the Tree Protection Bylaw Review at a Committee of the Whole Meeting on Monday, December 13. Responding to Council’s direction from November 1, the project team presented findings from additional research and an additional engagement option for Council to consider for Phase 3.
Council endorsed three staff recommendations:
- Receive the additional research on tree protection bylaws that Council requested on November 1, 2021;
- Direct staff to proceed with the Phase 3 Engagement Plan in accordance with the engagement plan outlined in Staff Report No. PCS-21-014; and
- Approve the revised budget of $29,547 for the additional scope of the Tree Protection Bylaw Review in 2022.
(You can review the research findings and Staff Report as links on the meeting agenda: northsaanich.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Id=826.)
Council affirmed they are proceeding with five key directions (KDs) as presented within the draft bylaw: bylaw goals (KD 1), exemptions (KD 2), reasons for removal (KD 5), permit applications (KD 6), and tree protection (KD 7).
However, Council directed staff to revise the draft bylaw to exclude certain fast-growing trees from the “significant tree definition” (KD 3) and to provide further clarity in a number of sections.
Additionally, Council directed staff that public engagement in Phase 3 must consider alternatives to the four remaining key directions:
- Lower the annual cutting and removal allowance and not implement a tree minimum, except with subdivision (KD 4);
- Limit when replacement requirements apply by either capping them with a tree minimum, by only requiring replacements with development, or by only requiring replacement when trees are removed exceeding the annual cutting and removal allowance (KD 8);
- Lower the application fees and require no fees for the removal of invasive species (KD 9); and
- Differentiate subdivision applications from other types of applications — applications related to development will require a larger security deposit (KD 10).
Public engagement is anticipated to launch in late March 2022
Engagement activities will include sending mail to each North Saanich household regarding engagement opportunities; an online open house; two in-person open houses; and a survey. Engagement will also include various presentations and meetings with relevant commissions, stratas, and stewardship groups.
As this discussion occurred at a Committee of the Whole Meeting, Council will need to ratify its decisions at the next Council Meeting: January 17, 2022.
As this is likely the final project update of 2021, we would like to wish you a festive holiday season and a very happy New Year.
The Project Team