Sechelt implements tougher penalties for tree-cutting

As the province enters wildfire season, trees and plants in Sechelt can rest easy thanks to stronger protection measures being endorsed.

Following discussion at the District of Sechelt’s May 22 committee of the whole, recommendations have been brought to council to enhance tree protection in the area.

Recommendations include amending the Municipal Ticketing Information (MTI) Bylaw and Bylaw Notice Enforcement Implementation Byalw to administer more severe fines for those who unlawfully remove trees or plants from properties that are not within parks.

The current Tree Cutting and Limbing Policy has been rescinded and the Protection of Plants and Trees on Public Lands Policy has also been endorsed as a part of these changes.

This will allow staff to issue fines of $1,000 under the MTI Bylaw, and seek conviction under the Offences Act for more serious violations of the Highway and Parking Bylaw.

These changes will also give staff more authority to handle abandoned unlicensed vehicles.

Coun. Dianne McLauchlan suggested that the policy be reviewed in a year, saying that the fee for removing mature trees should be more severe than that for removing shrubs or smaller plants.

“I'm not sure $1,000 is really a sufficient term, and will deter people from trying to obtain a water view,” McLauchlan added.

Council unanimously gave second and third readings to the Highways and Parking Bylaw amendment and gave first, second and third readings to the Municipal Ticket Information and Bylaw Notice Enforcement Implementation bylaw amendments.

The bylaws will next proceed for adoption.

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

Jordan Copp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Coast Reporter