Rethinking the 2009 urban tree conservation by-law

March 19, 2018


The loss of mature trees in many established residential neighbourhoods has reached a crisis situation in the city's core area. This is due to the intensity and rapid pace of infill housing and urban development.


City policies, by-laws and procedures intended to limit tree removal and encourage replacement simply cannot keep up. This gap is implicitly recognized in the city's decision to review and update relevant by-laws, as outlined in the Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) approved by council in June 2017. 


The Urban Tree Conservation By-law (for trees on private property) is almost 10 years old. It came into effect in 2009, and is to be reviewed during the first management period of the UFMP (2018-2021). Along with the Municipal Trees and Natural Areas By-law (for trees on City property), the bylaw is the legal basis for specific programs such as the Infill Tree Conservation Program. As such, it is an important tool used to support policy objectives of the Official Plan, including climate change mitigation, green infrastructure and a healthy and livable city.


At a meeting on March 3, 2018 a group of citizens convened by BIG TREES of Kitchissippi spent an afternoon developing a set of recommendations about how we think the by-law can be improved.


Residents and other community groups in the City of Ottawa are encouraged to make use of our ideas to lobby for an updated by-law and by-law enforcement that lives up to  the intent of the 2009 by-law, whose title, after all, contains the words "Urban Tree Conservation."


This 6-page PDF contains our recommendations to City officials, the Mayor of Ottawa and Ward Councillors responsible for the by-law review and update.


We welcome your comments, whether you live in Kitchissippi Ward or elsewhere in the city. 


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