Saanich strengthens Tree Protection Bylaw

January 9, 2020

News release

For immediate release

Saanich strengthens Tree Protection Bylaw

Saanich, BC – Council has adopted several amendments to strengthen Saanich’s Tree Protection Bylaw. The Tree Protection Bylaw regulates the cutting, removal or damaging of trees and sets requirements for replacing protected trees.

“Council actively supports the protection of trees in our community and we’re leading by example,” said Mayor Fred Haynes. “We made a commitment to our roles as environmental leaders and urban forest stewards.”

One amendment will increase the number of required replacement trees by one when protected trees need to be removed. A two-to-one or three-to-one tree replacement is required depending on the reason the tree was removed. Saanich will apply the highest replacement ratio of three trees replanted for every one removed for all municipal projects.

Saanich also introduced deposits for non-development related tree removals. The deposits for development related replacement trees will increase from $300 to $700. Saanich may collect cash in lieu if there isn’t space to replant the required number of trees where they were removed and use that money to support the goals of the Urban Forest Strategy, such as replanting trees elsewhere in the community. Saanich’s cost to plant and maintain public replacement trees is currently $1,350 per tree.

Council directed staff to identify ways to enhance tree protection in Saanich following a report brought forward by Councillor and Environment and Natural Areas Advisory Committee Chair Rebecca Mersereau in March 2019.

“Trees provide us with so many important values - they support biodiversity and provide habitat, improve the quality of stormwater to and reduce costs for conveying it, provide critical shade and cooling in the summer, and they are responsible for so much of the character that makes Saanich’s neighbourhoods and rural areas unique,” said Councillor Mersereau. “These important bylaw changes will help us ensure that we continue to have a healthy urban forest to benefit future generations in Saanich.”

The bylaw amendments will take effect February 5, 2020.

Additional amendments to the Tree Protection Bylaw may be brought forward for Council’s consideration in 2020 in reviewing other processes that may assist with further protection of the urban forest.

Learn more:

More information about tree protection in Saanich is available at You can also read the Tree Protection Bylaw Q&A.


Media contact:
Nathalie Dechaine
Manager, Community Development and Business Systems