Forest Planning and Health

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Tree canopy

A healthy urban forest improves the quality of life for City of Burlington residents. By providing a framework for protection and enhancement of all trees on public and private property, the City of Burlington’s urban forest will continue to grow with the goal to reach 35 per cent tree canopy cover by 2041. A multi-faceted approach is required to meet this goal, which is addressed through the four guiding principles:

Proposed Guiding Principles for Tree Protection and Enhancement

• Tree Planting and Replacement

• Protection and Preservation

• Asset Maintenance

• Community Outreach, Education, and Collaboration

The trees within Burlington's

A healthy urban forest improves the quality of life for City of Burlington residents. By providing a framework for protection and enhancement of all trees on public and private property, the City of Burlington’s urban forest will continue to grow with the goal to reach 35 per cent tree canopy cover by 2041. A multi-faceted approach is required to meet this goal, which is addressed through the four guiding principles:

Proposed Guiding Principles for Tree Protection and Enhancement

• Tree Planting and Replacement

• Protection and Preservation

• Asset Maintenance

• Community Outreach, Education, and Collaboration

The trees within Burlington's urban forest provide a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits, including improved air quality, reduced storm-water runoff, energy savings, noise reduction, natural bird and wildlife habitats, higher property values and overall beautification of city streets and parks.

The city's Urban Forestry section is responsible for the city’s ongoing operations and maintenance of municipally-owned trees, Forest planning and health, and Forest Protection. Key programs include: preventative maintenance through Grid Pruning, Tree Planting and Stumping programs, and the administration of public and private tree protection bylaws.

We are very proud of our trees, especially those with historical significance on the Burlington Honour Roll of Trees. Whenever possible, we involve the public in the consultation process and surveys.

  • New Rules as of January 27, 2020 - Removal of Trees

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    The City of Burlington is taking exciting and important steps to battle climate change through preserving and growing the City’s tree canopy. As of Jan. 27, 2020, anyone within the City’s urban boundary will need to apply for a permit and on-site consultation to remove a tree greater than 20 cm in diameter (8”) measured at 1.4 m from the ground, or if you would like to remove more than five trees between 10 and 20 cm (4-8”) measured at 1.4 m from the ground in a calendar year. Heritage trees and endangered species are also protected.

    Permits are also needed for any activity that may injure or damage a tree.

    The permit application can be found online at burlington.ca/privatetree.

    A private tree task-force is being assembled with a goal of creating an incentive program for homeowners to plant trees on their private property. Details of the task-force and the incentive program are still being finalized and will be shared once ready.

    To read the full bylaw, including information on permits, protected trees, exemptions and fines, visit Burlington.ca/PrivateTree.

    When do I need a permit?

    Property owners will need to apply for a Tree Removal Permit when removing:

    • A tree greater than 20 cm diameter measured at 1.4 m from the ground
    • More than five trees between 10 and 20 cm measured at 1.4 m from the ground
    • Any size of tree that is a designated Heritage Tree*
    • Any size of endangered, at risk, or threatened tree species*
    • If the tree is dead**
    • If the tree is diseased with no chance of recovery**
    • If the tree is within 2 m of an occupied dwelling**

    * Additional permits and regulations apply

    **Permit is still required; fees and compensation are waived.

    When do I not need a permit?

    • Removing trees of less than 20 cm in diameter measured at 1.4 m above the ground (no more than four per year)
    • Tree maintenance (pruning)
    • For emergency work, such as utility repairs
    • Trees at high-risk of injuring a person or damaging property
    • If the tree is located in a nursery or orchard
    • If the tree is an invasive species*

    Replacement Trees

    Trees that are injured or removed under the Tree Removal Permit will need to be replaced. The tree’s diameter, measured at 1.4 m above ground, as well as the overall condition rating will impact the total number of cm required to be replaced. Generally, one replacement tree is required for every 10 cm diameter removed. The on-site consultation will determine measurements and replacements.

    If there is no room for the replacement trees to be planted on the property, there will be a charge of $400 per replacement tree. This money will be used toward the Private Tree Incentive Program where private homeowners will be encouraged to plant trees on their property.

    Fees and Fines

    • Tree Permit, Development Related Application: $680/property
    • Tree Permit, Non-Development Related Application: $390/property
    • Cash-in-Lieu of Replacement Compensation (Cash-in-Lieu): $400/tree
    • Private Tree Bylaw fine: $680/tree

    Public Information Sessions

    Public information sessions are being planned to help educate residents and homeowners about the bylaw. When details are confirmed, information will be posted on burlington.ca/privatetree, on the City’s social media as well as other methods.

    For more information, including the online application form, go to burlington.ca/privatetree.







  • City-wide Private Tree By-law Implementation Update Report - Jan. 13

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    Report RPF-18-19 was submitted to the Committee of the Whole meeting on December 2nd, and later at council on December 16th, included recommendations for the approval of a City-wide private tree bylaw.

    Through discussion at both Committee and Council meetings, two staff directions were received: 1) Defer discussion of the rural/agricultural classification to the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee meeting of January 13, 2020.

    2) Defer discussion regarding cash in-lieu to the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee meeting of January 13, 2020. These staff directions are directly linked to the proposed bylaw and proposed amendments to the rates and fees bylaw. The information included within this report provides additional information on these items and includes recommendations from staff, and options to consider by Committee.

    Read the report.


  • Dec 2, 2019 - City-wide Private Tree Bylaw Implementation Report

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    This item is going to Committee on Dec 2, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

    Read the report.

    If you'd like to speak to Council about this item, you must register to delegate. You must register by 12:00 noon on Friday Nov 29.

  • Options presented to Committee

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    Thanks to everyone that provided their feedback.

    Staff presented a report to Committee that included 4 options:

    OPTIONS CONSIDERED

    OPTION 1:
    Status quo
    A status quo approach was considered as part of this report.This would allow the current Pilot Private Tree Bylaw in Roseland to run the original 2-years.
    Pros:
    Allows for more time to evaluate the pilot.
    Cons:
    This does not consider the implications of a declared climate emergency, and delays protection of trees citywide.

    OPTION 2:
    Expand the Bylaw to Ward 4 Only. The expansion of the bylaw to ward 4 was considered as part of this
    report. The staff requirement would be reduced to1full time staff, with associated cost reductions.
    Pros:
    Provides for a slightly larger pilot area.
    Cons:
    This does not consider the implications of a declared climate emergency,and delays protection of trees citywide.

    OPTION 3:
    Repeal the Pilot Private Tree Bylaw and approve a bylaw for the urban area only. This option would protect all private trees within the urban area of the City and exclude all agricultural and rural areas north of Highway 5/407.
    Pros:
    Provides protection for private trees in the most populated area of the City.
    Cons:
    Does not provide protection for residential properties in the rural area that
    are not covered under the Regional bylaw for woodlots.

    OPTION 4:
    Repeal the Pilot Private Tree Bylaw and approve a city-wide private tree bylaw.
    Pros:
    This option provides the highest level of protection by including the entire city.
    Cons:
    Increased
    resource requirements in both operating and capital budgets.


    Staff recommends Option 4 for implementation, with a tree size of greater than or equal to 20 cm diameter at breast height. This option provides a high level of protection for private trees city-wide.

    This report goes to City Council on October 21.


Page last updated: 09 Dec 2022, 11:23 AM