Council on Monday approved amendments to the city’s tree protection bylaw.
The changes include higher fees aimed at helping discourage tree cutting permit applications and place greater emphasis on tree preservation.
The bylaw has higher fees for tree cutting and also includes a new category of “Large Diameter Tree” which is defined as “any tree having a trunk diameter equal to or greater than 60 centimetres.”
Including this definition in the bylaw allows for increased tree replacement requirements for those trees when removed, and higher cash-in-lieu charges, a staff report notes.
Municipal fines will be increased for the unauthorized removal of larger diameter trees and more replacement trees will be required for larger diameter trees that are removed.
The security and cash-in-lieu amount for replacement trees will also be increased.
Also under the new bylaw, every five metres of linear section of a mature hedge will be treated as one tree for the purpose of removal and replacement regulations.
Meanwhile, staff will report back to council with a more fulsome discussion and detailed recommendations for so-called “significant trees.”
Those are trees that are considered to be special for reasons other than large size.
Staff are also looking into obtaining independent Delta-initiated arborist reports to review arborist reports by applicants.
Coun. Dylan Kruger, during council’s discussion, said the new bylaw regulations makes Delta’s bylaw one of strictest in the region, and that doesn’t include the upcoming regulations on significant trees.
Coun. Dan Copeland agreed, saying that while there’s widespread concern in the Sunshine Hills area of North Delta, there’s also concern throughout the city about lots being clear cut.
The revised bylaw includes an exemption for tree removal from Burns Bog for the purposes of ecological restoration.