FAQs


Q. How do I get a permit to prune, remove or alter a protected tree?
A. Contact Parks, Recreation and Culture at 361-0600.

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Q. When is a permit required?
A. A permit is required to prune, remove or alter a protected tree. This includes trees which are dead, dying or hazardous. The owner may be required to submit a report from an ISA certified arborist verifying the condition of the tree.

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Q. Why do I need a permit to remove a protected tree if the tree is already dead or dying?
A. The City of Victoria normally requires a 2-for-1 replacement of removed trees. Even though the tree is dead there is (or was) a tree on the site that requires replacing.

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Q. How do I know if my tree is a hazardous?
A. Call a certified arborist to come and assess your tree. If it is determined to be hazardous, they may recommend that the tree be immediately removed or that pruning is required. They may recommend a six, 12, 18 or 24 month progress report be done. On the contrary, they may find the tree is healthy and safe.

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Q. Who is an ISA Certified Arborist?
A. These tree specialists have passed an exam administered by the International Society of Arborists. This is the only certification the City of Victoria recognizes as qualified to submit a report on tree health and safety.

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Q. How do I know if my tree is protected under the bylaw?
A. If you are unsure, The City of Victoria has a Tree Preservation Officer who can visit your property and determine whether your tree is protected.

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Q. How do I determine the diameter of a tree?
A. The diameter of a tree is measured at 1.4 metres above the ground. It can be determined by dividing the circumference by 3.142.

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Q. Which trees are protected under this Bylaw?
A. The following native species are protected:

Over 50 cm in height

  • Garry Oak Quercus garryana
  • Arbutus Arbutus menziesii
  • Pacific Dogwood Cornus nuttalii
  • Pacific Yew Taxus brevifolia

Over 60 cm in diameter at breast height

  • Western Red Cedar Thuja plicata
  • Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • Big Leaf Maple Acer macrophyllum

Any tree on private property with a trunk over 80 cm in diameter at breast height is also protected. Any tree growing on a steep slope, or within 15 metres of a watercourse or trees identified as significant are also protected.

Where a permit authorizes the removal of a protected tree, the owner is required to plant and maintain two replacement trees of the same species. The City of Victoria will hold a $350 deposit for each replacement tree until the trees are planted.

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Q. Does the Tree Preservation Bylaw affect the development and building permit process?
A. When applying for any development related permit, all protected trees must be accurately shown on a site plan. If it is determined that the protected trees will be affected by any proposed work, then a tree permit will be required.

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Q. Is there a cost to get a Tree Permit?
A. There is no permit fee for beneficial pruning of a protected tree or for the removal of a dead, dying or hazardous protected tree. There is no fee for the emergency removal of a protected tree. For the removal or altering of all other protected trees there is a $30 fee for the first tree and a $5 fee for each subsequent tree.

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