The City of Colwood has introduced a new interim Urban Forest Bylaw intended to protect trees from unnecessary removal, and to preserve and enhance the City's urban forest over the long term. With this interim bylaw in place, a permit will be required to remove any protected tree on private or public property, and replacement trees may need to be planted. This bylaw brings the City of Colwood up to date with common municipal practice for the protection of trees. 

Task Force to review the interim bylaw

An Urban Forest Bylaw Working Group will be created to review the interim bylaw against best practices for urban forest management, gather feedback from citizens, and make recommendations to Council regarding the development of a final Urban Forest Bylaw. This will be an opportunity for community members to provide input into the final bylaw. Interesting in volunteering on the task force? Contact pvanbuskirk@colwood.ca.

Why protect our urban forest?

The Interim Urban Forest Bylaw recognizes that trees on both private and public lands are an important part of the urban forest and ecology of the city, and contribute to residents' wellness and quality of life. Protecting trees and forested areas is a priority for the City that has been reinforced by significant community input into the Making Waves Official Community Plan update

Trees improve air and water quality, prevent soil erosion and flooding, offer shade to control temperatures and conserve energy, attract wildlife, birds and pollinators, increase property values and make Colwood neighbourhoods more beautiful and enjoyable. For all of these reasons, trees improve health and wellness and contribute to a high quality of life for residents. 

What trees are protected?

Some examples of the types of trees that are protected by the new bylaw include:

  • Trees with a diameter of 20 cm or greater when measured at chest height (1.4 metres above the base of the tree) or
  • Trees with more than one stem at 1.4 metres above grade and the combined diameter of its two largest trunks or stems is 20 centimetres or greater or
  • Trees with evidence of nesting birds or
  • Trees that do not meet the size requirements but were a condition of a plan or permit approval or
  • Trees that form a hedge that is greater than 5 meters high or
  • Trees on all City owned lands including boulevards, streets, parks and open spaces.

How is the diameter of a tree measured?

The diameter of a tree is measured at 1.4 metres above the ground. It can be determined by measuring the tree around it's circumference and dividing that by 3.142.

How can the City regulate trees on privately owned property?

Under Section 8 of the “Community Charter” a Council may enact regulations in relation to trees. Most cities have similar bylaws for the management or the protection of trees. This bylaw brings the City of Colwood up to date with common practice for the protection of trees. 

What is required to remove a tree on private property?

Complete and submit a Tree Management Application, which you can download at www.colwood.ca/Trees or pick up at Colwood City Hall at 3300 Wishart Road. Don't hesitate to contact us at 250-478-5999 if you need more information.

Is there a cost to get a Tree Management Permit?

The application fee for a basic Tree Management Permit is $75, which covers the cost to remove one tree upon approval of the application. The cost for each additional tree is $75. A security deposit is also required for each replacement tree that is required to be planted. 

Where can I find more information about the Urban Forest Bylaw?

Complete details about the Urban Forest Bylaw on the City website at www.colwood.ca/Trees, which includes a link to the complete bylaw.