This old beech tree in Duncan was given “significant tree” status by the city last month. Calls are for a similat tree protection bylaw in North Cowichan. (File photo)

Calls renewed for tree protection bylaw in North Cowichan

Petition circulating in municipality

North Cowichan’s council is being asked to develop a tree protection bylaw.

Resident Jan Scott spoke to council at its meeting on Dec. 20 saying she’s concerned about the number of trees that are being cut down indiscriminately by developers and others in the municipality when building their projects.

She said she went door to door in her North Cowichan neighbourhood, where development is occurring on adjacent properties, gathering names on a petition to request that the municipality develop a tree protection bylaw.

“Many of the developers are clear-cutting everything and are not taking into consideration that trees help deal with floods, and the fact that trees help clean the air,” Scott said.

“The truth is, we all love trees but don’t stand up for them.”

Scott said the City of Duncan has one of the best tree protection bylaws that she has ever seen, and encouraged council to follow the city’s example.

Duncan currently has 23 trees designated as significant trees, including an old copper beech tree located at 740 Park Place that was given “significant tree” status last month.

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“North Cowichan needs fines and other punishments to make developers and others who take down these trees responsible,” Scott said.

Protests erupted in the summer of 2016 when the Island Savings Centre on James Street announced it was cutting down an old maple tree on its property to make way for upgrades to its parking lot.

After weeks of negotiations, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, which leases the ISCC property from the Municipality of North Cowichan, decided to move forward with the removal of the tree early one morning before the protesters could mobilize.

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There have been calls for North Cowichan to develop a tree protection bylaw ever since.

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