Community Engagement: Draft Tree Management Bylaw

Page updated: August 10, 2021

Thank you for your interest in the District of Sooke’s draft tree management bylaw. Please refer to this page for the latest information on this initiative. Scroll down to learn more about the project and find questions (and answers) to frequently asked questions. This page will be updated as new information is available.

  • Where we are now: Staff revising draft bylaw from Fall 2020 engagement
  • What’s next: Public and stakeholder input on draft bylaw (date: to be determined, anticipate late fall/early winter 2021)
  • What’s next: “What we heard” report and draft bylaw to be discussed at the committee of the whole on December 7, 2020. The draft bylaw is to be presented to council on December 14, 2020.
  • What’s happened: Phase 1 public engagement with 433 participants and subsequent stakeholder engagement (phase 2) of preliminary bylaw concept (Fall 2020). Following this engagement period, Council directed staff to develop a purpose-based engagement strategy for tree management at the December 14, 2020 Regular Council Meeting.


With the District of Sooke’s commitment to managing long-term growth and responding to the climate action emergency, a tree management bylaw is being developed. The District is consulting with the public to support this process.

The public was invited to provide input through an online survey from November 2, 2020 to November 11, 2020. The survey was available through the District of Sooke website at This round of public input was used to help develop the preliminary tree management bylaw – to be presented to council on December 14, 2020.

“A tree management bylaw will set expectations for retaining and replanting of trees as council works to support the long-term growth of the community for future generations,” shares Mayor Maja Tait. “Sooke is a growing community. The District passed a resolution in 2008 signing on to the Climate Action Charter and council has continued to receive comments from residents concerned with how the growth in Sooke is being balanced with care for the environment, so this has been a long-time coming.”

Multiple phases of engagement are planned as the bylaw is developed, including:

  • public input (phase 1): November 2-11, 2020
  • stakeholder engagement (phase 2): November 13-27, 2020
  • presentation of a draft bylaw to council (phase 3). The draft bylaw will be published with the December 14, 2020 agenda package by December 10, 2020.
  • bylaw revisions and purpose-based engagement strategy (phase 4)
  • revised bylaw presented for public input
  • further revised bylaw presented for Council discussion and further public input
  • further revisions to bylaw, as needed, leading to proposed bylaw adoption

Frequently Asked Questions (& Answers)

Why regulate the removal of trees?

Trees provide important community services and values including pollution and stormwater absorption, oxygen production, water quality improvement, carbon sequestration, shade, windbreaks, noise reduction, privacy, wildlife habitat, and neighbourhood beautification. Within the District’s strategic plan, the District has identified long-term thinking and environmental leadership as a core value and operating principle for the organization; managing trees is one mechanism to respond meaningfully to these areas.

What are the goals of a Tree Management Bylaw?

A tree management bylaw will set expectations for retaining trees, replanting or paying cash-in-lieu to plant trees elsewhere on public land such as local parks, when trees are removed. The District of Sooke is consulting with the public in the preparation of a tree management bylaw.

A tree management bylaw would not prevent the removal of dead, dying, or hazardous trees.

What are the next steps in this process of preparing and implementing a Tree Management Bylaw?

Initial consultation with the public took place fall/winter 2021 and included a stakeholder engagement period with the Agricultural Land Commission, Ministry of Environment, School District 62, and the Climate Action Committee. A “what we heard report” and initial discussion with Council took place in December 2020. Subsequent work is being done by staff on a draft bylaw and purpose-based engagement strategy. The iterative process of bylaw development will continue with additional opportunities for public input anticipate late Fall 2021.

I have additional comments on a tree management bylaw, where do I send them? 

Please email Comments received will be considered in the bylaw draft. Please stay tuned for opportunities to provide input on the draft bylaw, once available.