Citizens Reminded of Tree Protection Bylaw

Citizens Reminded of Importance of Tree Protection Bylaw
Posted on 10/30/2019
The City of Charlottetown is reminding the public that a Tree Protection Bylaw is in place to assist in the management and protection of the urban forest canopy. City Council passed the bylaw in May, recognizing the importance of trees as green infrastructure.

The bylaw applies to all trees on City owned property. It also applies to heritage trees on private or public property, which are trees with a diameter at breast height (DBH) of more than 100 centimetres. The purpose of the bylaw is to regulate and establish requirements for preservation, protection, maintenance, removal and replacement of protected trees, and put in place inspection and enforcement provisions, including penalties for damaging or removing a public tree or protected tree without written permission from the City of Charlottetown.

“Trees are among the most valuable infrastructure in our city in terms of the benefits to the environment and residents,” said Councillor Terry MacLeod, Chair of the City’s Environment and Sustainability committee. “They offer shade, which can increase the lifespan of our pavement and decrease cooling costs, and they store carbon and clean pollutants from our air and water. Trees buffer our infrastructure from the wind, help control ground water runoff and provide habitat and food for urban wildlife. The benefits are numerous, which is why we want to protect, diversify and manage what we have.”

The Tree Protection Bylaw falls under the responsibility of the Environment and Sustainability committee, in collaboration with the City’s Public Works department. It complements the City’s urban forest management and maintenance programs, along with its comprehensive urban tree inventory. It includes protocols for invasive species and dealing with elm and ash trees, which are at risk of being infected by disease or invasive insect pests.

“The bylaw allows us to protect our trees, but also further educate the public on the importance of our urban forest,” Councillor MacLeod said. “In addition, it ensures that our trees receive regular care and assessments so that the same trees we’re trying so hard to protect aren’t a safety risk due to invasive pests, storm damage or age.”

Councillor Mike Duffy, Chair of the City’s Public Works and Urban Beautification committee, said educating people about the Tree Protection Bylaw is important not only because it includes penalties for those not adhering to the bylaw, but also because the goal is to have everyone recognize the value of trees.

“With the situation our climate is in, I don’t think any community is in the position now where it can afford not to protect trees,” said Councillor Duffy. “Our hope is that with our efforts to protect and manage the heritage trees and public trees, citizens will want to protect trees on their own properties as well,” Councillor Duffy said. “This is something we should all be working on together.”

The Tree Protection Bylaw is accessible in the City’s bylaw index at: www.charlottetown.ca/bylaws
Anyone with questions about a heritage tree or a tree on public property, can contact the City at 902-566-5548.

-30-

Additional information:

There are 17 restrictions outlined in the Tree Protection Bylaw with the intent to protect City-owned trees and Heritage trees. The following are some of the highlights from the Bylaw:

• Written permission must be granted by the City to remove, prune or negatively impact City-owned trees and Heritage trees;
• Requests to remove or alter healthy, public trees may be subject to fees, approvals/exemptions.
• Contravention of the bylaw may result in penalties and/or stop work orders;
• Pruning must be done in accordance with International Society of Arborists standards. Proper pruning and pruning cuts help to promote tree health;
• Heritage trees include trees that have a 100 centimetres in diameter at breast height (DBH) or greater, on public or private property and are one of the following species: red maple, sugar maple, elm species, red oak, linden species;
• Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) protects the above and below ground parts of the tree by eliminating activity within the drip line + one meter of the tree. This will be of particular interest and importance during planning and developments, as well as to utility companies and contractors;
• Restrictions apply to decorative lighting and other articles that are hung in City-owned trees as they can be damaging in high winds, to new leaf buds and if hung on small branches;
• Invasive species programs are in place to manage diseases and insect pests such as Dutch elm disease. Proactive monitoring of ash trees is taking place to detect the emerald ash borer when it arrives in Charlottetown. There is a ban on pruning ash and elm trees between March 30 and October 30, when the harmful insects are active. Use of infested wood is regulated by the City;
• Trees in parks, green spaces, woodlands and buffer zones are protected;
• Any funds generated from the implementation of the Tree Protection Bylaw will be place in a Tree Reserve Fund and used to plant more trees.