Downing a tree in Saanich could become a more difficult and expensive task if Saanich council gets its way.
On Monday Saanich councillors approved multiple recommendations to bolster the municipality's tree protection bylaw.
Currently, the bylaw states that one to two trees must be replanted to replace any tree that is taken down. Under the new recommendations, as many as three would be required.
There is also currently a tree-replacement security deposit for development-related removals, worth $300. If the new bylaw passes, that security deposit will be upped to $700. The deposits are returned once all tree replanting conditions are met.
“There’s many benefits to having trees and the municipality, the residents and council really value all the benefits that trees provide," said Nathalie Dechaine, Saanich Parks and Recreation. "...we want to make sure that those values continue into the future."
Staff has also been directed to establish a reserve fund specific to supporting the goals of the municipality's urban forest strategy.
Often trees are unable to be replanted on sites where the removal occurred. This reserve fund will afford the purchase and planting of replacement trees somewhere else within Saanich's urban forest.
In order to administer the bylaw, staff has also been asked to prepare a request for the 2020 budget for higher staffing levels.