Determination of Tree Ownership
Contact the City to help determine whether trees are City property or private property. Should any discrepancies or uncertainties occur regarding the ownership of a tree on / near a property line, a land surveyor and/or certified arborist should be contacted to confirm the tree location in relation to property lines.
Please confirm with our City Engineering department whether the subject tree(s) is a City or privately owned tree.
- City-owned trees and vegetation (e.g., boulevard trees, park spaces, etc.) are protected by Section 7.1 of the Boulevard Maintenance Bylaw No. 2377, 2008, and Section 5 of the Parks and Community Facilities Regulations Bylaw No. 2653, 2014. Written consent of the City is required to cut or prune any boulevard vegetation. Boulevard landscaping specifications, street tree planting design criteria and other provisions are provided in Schedule C: Design Criteria - Part H of the Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw No. 2589, 2013.
- See “Tree Preservation Policy on Municipally Owned Lands” for information on certified arborist report, type of trees, replacement criteria and other requirements.
Private Property Trees
Tree removal IS NOT permitted if:
- Located within 30m of riparian assessment area (RAA) or streamside protection enhancement area (SPEA), as determined by a Qualified Environmental Professional. This protection applies to all vegetation (e.g., trees, shrubs, ground cover) within the RAA or SPEA. Please check with the City’s Environmental Stewardship Officer to confirm; and/or
- Located within a BC Land Titles registered covenant and/or protected area. Please check with the City’s Planning Department to confirm; and/or
- Other legal protection measures / provisions exist (e.g., Development Permit Area). Please check with the City’s Planning Department to confirm.
Though the City does not currently have bylaws prohibiting tree removal on private property (unless above and/or other requirements apply), the City encourages trees be retained where possible, and tree replacement is suggested when tree removal is required.
You may contact a Qualified Professional (eg: Certified Arborist, etc.) to assess and report on the health and condition of trees as well as identify hazard trees on a property.
If applicable, please be advised that removal of trees and/or their roots may result in compromised slope stability and increased risk of slope hazard failure. A Qualified Professional (e.g., Engineer, Geoscientist, etc.) should be able to determine whether tree / tree root removal or disturbance would affect geotechnical slope stability and safety.
- To ensure public and property safety and security, tree removal should be conducted by a Qualified Professional (eg: Certified Arborist).
- Consultation with any neighbours affected by the tree removal (e.g., privacy, safety, form and character of neighbourhood) is suggested.
- Vegetation within the 30m Riparian Assessment Area (RAA) or Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA), whichever applies, is protected by the Provincial Riparian Areas Regulation.
- Riparian vegetation cover such as trees and shrubs benefit riparian habitat by providing bank stabilization, shading, maintaining water temperatures, and providing food and nutrients to aquatic organisms. Shade cover has also been linked to reducing/avoiding the establishment of aquatic invasive species, such as Parrot Feather. Consideration of these benefits is suggested when developing a riparian planting plan for new development proposals.
- For more in depth information, visit our page on Riparian Areas
Breeding Bird Considerations
If vegetation removal or disturbance is to occur, please note that birds and their nests are protected by both the BC Wildlife Act and the Canada Migratory Birds Convention Act and Migratory Birds Regulation. Vegetation refers to trees, shrubs and ground cover. Eagles, peregrine falcon, gyrfalcon, osprey or heron and their nests are protected year-round with an additional protection buffer during the breeding season (Wildlife Act Section 34(b) species). Most other breeding bird species, their eggs and their nests are protected during their active breeding period. If vegetation removal and/or potential disturbance is required at any time of the year for Section 34(b) species, or, the least risk window of September 1 through to February 28 for most other bird species, a Qualified Environmental Professional should provide a signed and sealed due-diligence memo report, confirming:
whether any raptor / heron and/or their nests occur within the applicable breeding buffer distance of the proposed project footprint (refer to undeveloped/rural/urban buffers of Table 4-1, Develop with Care, MOE 2014); AND
whether any other protected bird species and/or their nests occur within 30m of the proposed project footprint; AND
if any protected raptor / herons, breeding birds and/or their nests occur within the proposed project footprint, provide management and monitoring recommendations for protection and mitigation. The QEP would certify that no adverse effects are expected to occur to nesting birds provided their management recommendations are followed.