New rules about cutting down and replacing trees are based on FireSmart guidelines, Peachland councillors heard on Tuesday.
Council gave preliminary approval to a series of bylaws on tree removal. Peachland hasn’t updated its tree removal bylaw since the mid-1990s, said fire Chief Dennis Craig.
“The main change is to add a FireSmart component to it,” Craig told council. “No tree removal permit is required if doing work in that 1.5-metre area around a structure.”
“(The bylaw) also regulates what can be planted in replacement. It is a tree protection bylaw, so if you remove trees the bylaw does say you have to replace those trees,” Craig said.
The bylaw states that no replacement trees shall be planted within a 1.5-metre radius of any building or structure.
Any replacement tree planted within a 1.5 to 10 metres of a building or structure must be a deciduous species. Coniferous trees are prohibited in that area.
Replacement trees planted within 10 to 30 metres of a building must be a minimum of three metres from existing trees on the site or other replacement trees.
“In the old bylaw there were no requirements,” said Craig. “They could plant coniferous trees, they could plant trees next to structures. This bylaw now basically regulates that, saying if you’re replacing trees, you cannot replace them within that 1.5-metre non-combustible zone. If you’re within the immediate zone, you cannot replace them with coniferous trees.”
This is the third recent bylaw change meant to incorporate FireSmart standards. Earlier this year, council passed business licensing and zoning bylaws that changed landscaping regulations and banned the sale of ornamental cedar trees.
Some small trees will be exempt from the tree-replacement rules. Pruning is also allowed and defined in the bylaw, but people who prune their trees to death may be ordered to replace them, Craig explained.