Nelson council adopted a new tree management bylaw Monday that aims to protect and respect the city’s “green infrastructure.”
Councillor Deb Kozak and along others around the table applauded the new bylaw after years of dealing with one-off situations sometimes inefficiently.
“For the past six years since I’ve been on council, some of our most vigorous debates and contentious issues have arisen around trees,” said Kozak. “Their care, their removal and how we care for our green infrastructure in the City of Nelson.”
Among some of the issues Kozak mentioned were the doughnut tree and clean up in Rosemont park.
“At that point in time I thought, as did many others on council and staff, we need a better policy and plan around how we handle trees,” she said. “We also needed to really respect the green infrastructure of our community.”
The bylaw is aimed at not only educating the community on tree management responsibilities, but also to guide city staff.
“It’s about having internal policies in place that will assist staff and council to be very clear in how we manage our trees,” said Kozak.
“How we replace them, and what we replace them with. If they are damaged by another party what happens. It makes things a lot clearer and a lot more straightforward. As we go forward it will save us a lot of grief.”
The bylaw also identified a decline in the city’s urban forest.
“When we talk about the decline of the urban forest, over the years some of the trees have declined and it’s a well known fact that urban trees have a shorter lifespan than something living in the forest,” said Kozak.
“The bylaw helps us assess the state of the trees and mitigate damage where it may be occurring to improve the health of the tree.
“If we are going to have a tree removed maybe we can have something started so the impact isn’t as great to the neighbourhood or parks.”
Many downtown and Uphill trees may need to be removed over the next 20 years, the city has indicated.