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The city of Ottawa wants to hear your thoughts on tree girth

People make their way along Commissioners Park in Ottawa on Sunday, July 24, 2022 (Spencer Colby/THE CANADIAN PRESS) People make their way along Commissioners Park in Ottawa on Sunday, July 24, 2022 (Spencer Colby/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The city of Ottawa is seeking public input on a plan to bring the tree protection bylaw in the suburbs in line with the urban core.

Under the current bylaw, trees with a trunk diameter of 30 cm or more, measured at breast height, are defined as "distinctive" if they are on private property that is one hectare or less in size, and so a permit is required to move them. 

A tree with a diameter of 30 cm will have a trunk circumference of 94 cm.

In the suburbs, trees must be at least 50 cm in diameter (157 cm circumference).

This means that trees must be older and more mature in the suburban areas outside the greenbelt to qualify for protection under the bylaw than the trees in the urban parts of Ottawa.

"This has caused confusion amongst residents around how the tree bylaw applies. It implies that smaller trees in the suburbs are less valuable, which is not the case," the city says. "In fact, the City of Ottawa is committed to protecting and growing the canopy cover across the urban area."

The tree canopy in parts of Ottawa has suffered significantly since the 2018 tornadoes and the 2022 derecho. The city estimates the 2022 storm alone led to the loss of more than 2,500 trees on city property and countless more on private land.

Council asked staff to amend the tree protection bylaw to make it universal across both urban and suburban areas, providing tree protection to all trees with a diameter of 30 cm, no matter which side of the Greenbelt they're on.

You can fill out the survey here. It is open until Oct. 10. Top Stories


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