Community Engagement: Draft Tree Management Bylaw

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.

  • Page last updated: November 18, 2020
  • Where we are now: Phase 2 Stakeholder engagement
  • 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 to be presented to council on December 14, 2020.
  • What’s happened: Phase 1 engagement is complete. Thank you to the 433 participants who provided input through our public survey to inform the draft bylaw.

Background

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 is invited to provide input through an online survey – the survey will open at noon on Monday, November 2, 2020, and close at midnight on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, and be available through the District of Sooke website at sooke.ca/engage. This round of public input will 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.”

Three phases of engagement will take place 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.

Please share this page with your friends and neighbours to advise them of this engagement process to inform the draft tree management bylaw.


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?

The District is consulting with the public until November 11, 2020. After the public consultation period stakeholder engagement with the Agricultural Land Commission, Ministry of Environment, School District 62, and the Climate Action Committee will take place. A “what we heard report” will be brought to the Committee of the Whole for discussion on December 7, 2020, with consideration to bring a draft Tree Management Bylaw to council on December 14, 2020.

The public is able to provide input to council through the public meeting process as described here.

I have completed the survey and have additional comments, where do I send them? 

Please email drafttreebylaw@sooke.ca. All comments received before November 27, 2020, will be included in the report to council on December 14, 2020.