TREES MATTER NETWORK - OAK BAY
Trees Matter Network - Oak Bay is the Trees matter Network local (new) Community Organization. It is the dedicated to preserving and enhancing our Urban Forest. Oak Bay Watch has agreed to publish their News Items & Information. They are also developing their own website.
Urban Forest Stewardship
Local government cannot continue to raise taxes to prioritize expensive engineered infrastructure to meet all service needs without considering how trees can help counter the problem.
News Items & Information
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Trees Matter Network Oak Bay - February 21, 2019:
Why all the fuss about losing our trees?
A resident presented the following submission to Victoria City Council In December 2018:
(I am here representing the Rockland Neighbourhood Association and I am a member of Trees Matter NetWork.)
It was a great day when council approved the Urban Forest Master Plan in 2013.
It is comprehensive, sustainable, and inspiring. The trouble is - it hasn’t been implemented.
This plan recognizes the disconnect between what has been happening in land use in Victoria, and what is necessary if we are to retain anything resembling an urban forest and the flora and fauna of a Garry oak ecosystem.
And it clearly identifies the challenges:
In particular, it identifies the threat in the current trend to see densification as the answer to everything.
Large trees tend to exist and proliferate where there is habitat to support them. So it’s neighbourhoods with parks or large, traditional, single-family residential properties that provide the highest percentage of tree cover. In Rockland and Fairfield, for example, much of the urban forest is on private land. So the constant demolitions and re-zonings that these neighbourhoods have been subjected to are completely counter to what we need to be doing if we value our urban forest.
If smaller, older homes are replaced with new and larger buildings that get rid of the larger front and rear yards which provide ample space for trees, our tree canopy is diminished. If lots zoned for 30% site coverage are rezoned to allow 60% site coverage, we lose the habitat necessary to support our urban forest. If our traditional residential areas are constantly made vulnerable to the demands of densification and infill, we lose our highly productive mature trees, as well as the green space required to support our native ecosystems.
The traditional residential areas have been under a relentless assault. In less than half of the time that has lapsed since the Urban Forest Master Plan was approved, 181 so-called “protected” trees were removed. So we can stimulate that we have lost at least 400 since 2013. And these are only the “protected” trees. Who knows how many other trees we’ve lost.
And now, while we wait for the implementation of the plan, the huge, “protected” trees at 1201 Fort Street will be taken down.
In the Aryze application before COW this morning, the developer proposes to take down 51 trees, with a combined crown spread of 295 square metres, and replace them with 24 saplings.
Our own Director of Parks has no problem recommending the new Crystal Pool be built right in the middle of a grove of mature trees.
At this rate, the urban forest that we tend to take for granted, will soon be gone.
The first two city-wide recommendations in the Master Plan are to:
The first two recommendations for privately owned lands are to revise the TPB, and identify heritage and significant trees and landscapes.
The plan is very clear about what needs to be done: “The single greatest impact to the urban forest comes from the incremental loss of green space associated with development and densification. [It is} the antithesis of sustainability.”
Please include implementing the Urban Forest Master Plan and revising the Tree Preservation Bylaw in your strategic plan and the budget.