Tree Preservation Bylaw

The City of Victoria has committed to the protection and enhancement of the urban forest, as outlined in the Urban Forest Master Plan (2013) and the Strategic Plan (2019).

The purpose of the Tree Preservation Bylaw is to provide for the protection and preservation of trees on private property. If you would like to prune or remove a bylaw protected tree a permit is required. Please contact treepermits@victoria.ca. 

Click on the image to link directly to the
Tree Preservation Bylaw 

  

 

Tree removal conditions
Property owners may be granted permission to remove a bylaw tree, if one or more of the following conditions apply:

  • The tree is located within the building envelope and the removal of the tree is necessary for the purpose of constructing a building, an addition to a building, or construction of an accessory building
  • The tree is dead, dying, severely damaged, unstable or severely leaning and in danger of falling, as confirmed by a certified arborist who holds the International Society of Arboriculture’s Tree Risk Assessment Qualification
  • The tree must be removed for the construction or installation of a driveway, off-street parking required by zoning, or municipal or public utilities service connections
  • Removal of the tree is specifically required or permitted under the Streets and Traffic Bylaw or the Trees and Insect Control Bylaw

If permission is granted, property owners will have to pay the $50 permit fee and provide the City with a $700 security deposit in the form of cash or a letter of credit for each replacement tree or protected tree seedling that is required.   

If a property owner provides evidence to the satisfaction of the Director of Parks that they cannot accommodate replacement trees on their property due to the size or characteristics of their lot, property owners will be required to pay $2000 cash-in-lieu for each replacement tree or tree seedling that cannot be accommodated on the site.  

Property development

  • All property development requires the retention of existing bylaw protected trees on your property unless a tree meets the conditions listed above
  • All trees to be retained on the site require protection during any construction or development. All trees on adjacent properties or boulevard trees that are in danger of being damaged must be protected 
  • An arborist’s report may be required for a permit application that has tree impacts
  • When designing a driveway, off-street parking, utility service connections, or a garage or other accessory building there are measures required to retain bylaw protected trees, where possible
  • Applications that do not demonstrate a design that safely retains bylaw protected trees may be subject to conditions of approval or a refusal of the application

Bylaw Amendment 

  • On November 21, 2019, Victoria City Council amended the Tree Preservation Bylaw to strengthen tree protection
  • Removed from the bylaw is the ability for an owner or builder to remove a bylaw protected tree for the construction of an accessory building, utility service connection drive-way or off street parking, if it’s possible to construct the aforementioned in a different location without removing the tree. Previously, an effort to relocate the construction to save trees was not explicitly required.
  • The definition of “protected tree” has been expanded to include any tree 30cm in trunk diameter (DBH) or larger
  • The Tree Removal Permit fee is now $50 for the first three trees or seedlings. Previously it was $30. In addition, there is an increase in the security deposit to $700.  It was previously $350.
  • A cash in lieu program is included if a property owner can provide evidence to the satisfaction of the Director of Parks that they cannot accommodate replacement trees on their property due to the size or characteristics of the lot
 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are there any “grandfather” provisions?

    Yes. If your application was received prior to October 24, 2019, the amended Tree Preservation Bylaw does not apply. Your application will be considered based on the former Tree Preservation Bylaw provisions.   

  2. I’ve identified trees that are 30cm in trunk diameter or greater that are planned for removal. What does that mean for me?

    Any tree of this size requires a permit in order for it to be removed and must be replaced at 2 to 1 ratio. Please contact parks@victoria.ca and a staff person will be in touch to discuss next steps. 

  3. I’d like to appeal the denial of permit. What is the process?

    The appeal process remains unchanged in the bylaw. The process is to request reconsideration in writing to the City’s Corporate Administrator. The appeal then goes to City Council for consideration. There is no charge for an application for reconsideration.  

  4. How do I apply for a tree permit?

    Complete the tree permit application form here and submit to treepermits@victoria.ca.