PEI

Call before you cut: Heritage tree bylaw could have you on the hook

Charlottetown residents are being reminded by the city that a tree protection bylaw is in place to protect the urban forest canopy.

'It’s very important we protect the trees'

In 2015 the City of Charlottetown removed 350 diseased elm trees. (CBC )

Charlottetown residents are being reminded by the city that a tree protection bylaw is in place to protect the urban forest canopy.

The bylaw was passed in May and recognizes the importance of trees as green infrastructure.

The bylaw not only applies to all trees on property owned by the city, it also applies to heritage trees on private property. Heritage trees are trees with a diameter at breast height of more than 100 centimetres.

"Trees do a lot for the environment," said Coun. Terry MacLeod, chair of the city's environment and sustainability committee.

"It's very important we protect the trees."

MacLeod said trees provide shade, store carbon, clean pollutants from the air and buffer infrastructure from the wind.

The purpose of the bylaw is to regulate and establish requirements for preservation, protection, maintenance, removal and replacement of protected trees.

What's the penalty?

Written permission must be granted by the city to remove, prune or negatively impact city-owned trees and heritage trees.

According to the city's website a penalty for a first offence is $3,000.

"Most people that want to have a tree down, they do call the city," MacLeod said.

"If it is a diseased tree we ask that we take it down anyway, simply because of the proper process that is required to make sure the disease doesn't spread to other trees, MacLeod said.

MacLeod said there hasn't been a report of people removing trees they were not supposed to since the bylaw came into place.

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