DELTA â€” Delta municipal council is replacing its Tree Cutting Regulation Bylaw with a new one that will see more trees preserved within the municipality’s boundaries.
The news Delta Tree Protection and Regulation Bylaw received third-reading approval from council last week. Council also approved an urban reforestation project that aims to see 1,150 trees planted in Delta within the next year, with some of them planted along Nordel Way.
"I think it’s going to work," Mayor Lois Jackson said.
Under Delta’s new tree bylaw, council can reject development applications for two years concerning property where a tree has been illegally cut.
It does away with the $2,000 maximum for a permit fee for cutting trees. to make sure applicants seeking to cut a large number of trees pay their full share of the costs. It will require that a tree cutting permit be prominently displayed on property where trees are being cut, and allow for only one tree to be cut without an arborist’s report, or outside of an emergency, every two years instead of each calendar year.
The property owner must under the new bylaw contribute $100 to Delta’s tree replacement fund.
The bylaw also requires that property owners provide two replacement trees, or $500 for each tree, for every tree cut within a two-year period on any given property after the first tree is cut within a two-year period.
Further, the Delta Tree Protection and Regulation Bylaw requires five replacement trees for every tree that’s cut or damaged without a permit, or contrary to a permit, and that all fees or fines owed to Delta be paid before a tree cutting permit will be issued.
According to a corporate report to Delta council, a single tree can on average remove 10 pounds of pollutants each year by absorbing particulates and gases from the air, and two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for one person every year.
Sean McGill, Delta’s director of human resources and corporate planning, noted that a tree canopy study undertaken by Delta in 2013 revealed that in North Delta in the year previous tree cover was 27.7 per cent, 10.3 per cent in Ladner and 20.7 in Tsawwassen. Since 2004, McGill noted, each of the three communities experienced a decline in tree cover by up to 1.3 per cent.
Last year, Delta’s bylaw inspectors received 91 calls related to trees and issued 15 tickets for tree cutting without a valid permit.
Also last year Delta recorded a net loss of almost 900 trees. McGill said the revised bylaw and urban reforestation program "will help to ensure a net gain, rather than a net loss, in the number of trees in Delta."