Oakville to strengthen private tree protection by-law

New guidelines address need for canopy conservation

Oakville Tree Tops
Oakville to strengthen private tree protection by-law

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Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw is the Manager of Corporate Communication for the town of Oakville since 2002. Prior to working for the town she worked for Halton Region as a communications specialist. She is a graduate of Humber College.

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Oakville’s tree canopy received a significant boost Monday, October 17, 2016 as Council voted to amend the town’s private tree protection by-law in an effort to curb the unnecessary removal of healthy trees. The changes mean that property owners who wish to remove a private tree will require a permit and may also be required to plant a new tree on their property.

“Oakville’s tree canopy is a community asset, and Council is committed to protecting and enhancing it wherever possible,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Thanks to considerable public input, improvements to the by-law will ensure we continue towards our 40 per cent canopy coverage goal and create an even cleaner, greener Oakville.”

Under the revised by-law, any tree 15 centimetres diameter at breast height (dbh) and above to be removed from private property is required to have a permit and payment of the applicable fee. In addition, any healthy tree above 15 centimetres dbh removed from private property must be replaced.

The Private Tree Protection By-law 2008-156 was adopted by Council in 2008 to support a greener community and a healthier environment as set out in the Livable Oakville Plan. It allowed property owners to remove a limited number of trees between 20 centimetres dbh and 76 centimetres dbh through a notification process and without permit.

“While the town’s tree canopy is threatened by invasive pests such as Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and extreme weather, a significant amount of healthy trees are being removed through the current notification process and it does not encourage replanting to compensate for the loss,” said Chris Mark, director, Parks and Open Space. “The new permit process will respect homeowners’ desire to make home and landscaping improvements, but will encourage them to do so in an environmentally responsible manner,”

Pending Budget Committee approval in December, staff will present the revised private tree protection by-law to Council for final approval in early 2017.

How do I know if the private tree protection by-law applies to me?

If any of the statements below describe you, the Private Tree Protection By-Law 2008-156 does not apply to your situation. If none of the below statements describe you, you must fill out a Notification form or an Application for a Tree Permit form (see below).

I want to remove a private tree…

  • with a diameter less than 20 centimetres.
  • for the purpose of satisfying a condition to a development permit authorized by regulation made under section 70.2 of the Planning Act, or as a requirement of an agreement entered into the regulation (examples include but are not limited to the Development Permit System).
  • located next to a transmitter or distributor as defined in the Electricity Act, 1998 for the purpose of construction and maintenance of a transmission or a distribution system, as defined under the Act.
  • to permit the construction of a building or structure where the tree’s removal, injury, or destruction is required under a building permit. Example includes, but are not limited to Residential-New and Residential Addition under Site Alteration Application (pdf, 86 kB).
  • located within wood lands or green lands governed by the Halton Region Tree By-Law 121-05.
  • for emergency work.
  • located on rooftop gardens, interior courtyards or solariums.
  • located on a nursery.
  • by contracting a person licensed under the Surveyors Act to engage in the practice of cadastral surveying (or his agent) while making a survey.
  • for the purpose of satisfying a condition to the approval of a site plan, a plan of subdivision, a consent under sections 41 (Site Plan Application), 51(Plan of Sub-division Approval), and 53 (Consent Application) of the Planning Act, or as a requirement of a site plan or subdivision agreement under those sections of the Act. Examples include but not limited to commercial/industrial-new, commercial/industrial-addition, and subdivision-multi residence applications. Download the Site Alteration Application (pdf, 86 kB).
  • in the sole discretion of the director of Development Engineering for the Town of Oakville, as a result of activities or matter undertaken as part of the approved process for the Environmental Implementation and Functional Servicing requirements for the lands in the North Oakville Secondary Plan area other than the lands designated as a Natural Heritage System.
  • that is required under a property standards by-law order.

More information can be found at Oakville Private Tree Protection.

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