Trees on public land have a value to the community. They provide shade and shelter for humans and wildlife, act as important barriers to wind and erosion, increase property value, and improve the aesthetic appeal of a community.
The Town of Canmore has a bylaw to protect trees from removal and damage, in particular during the development phase of private lands. The intent of the bylaw is to protect these trees through a formal process that begins with a conversation with the property owner with emphasis on tree protection. It also recognizes that in some cases it makes sense to remove a tree with means to assess valuation for future replanting.
A Town tree is any portion of a tree that has any portion of its trunk on public space. It is important to know where your property lines are, as most properties do not extend to the sidewalk.
Many public trees are lost through the development process where public trees are located adjacent to lands proposed to be developed. Public trees have been removed because of sightlines, site access during construction, or driveway installation.
Each building or development application will now include identifying public trees on the site. A discussion will occur between administration and the developer to determine if the trees can be saved based on some site redesign. If this is not possible, the developer has the opportunity to pay an amount (as valued by an arborist) before the trees can be removed.The funds will be used for future planting or maintenance of trees on public lands. A similar process will be available for residents who wish to remove a dead, unhealthy, or hazardous tree.
The bylaw also includes a requirement to protect public trees during construction. A protective barrier must be constructed around the tree so the tree does not become damaged during construction.
This bylaw will not affect activities like tree thinning for Firesmart or wildlife attractant removal.
There are fines for violations of the bylaw. The updated Master Fee Schedule will outline the amounts.
A copy of the approved bylaw can be found pdf here (2.38 MB) .