Trees

The City of North Vancouver enjoys a diversity of urban trees that play a critical role in providing a healthy and sustainable community, and enjoys a robust tree canopy coverage that we will continue to strengthen and grow.

The City has devoted significant resources to the expansion of this canopy, including:

  • Adopting a new Tree Bylaw (No. 8888), which includes measures and guidelines to increase tree canopy cover in the community and regulate management of trees in multi-family residential, commercial, civic, industrial, and mixed employment areas in the City.
  • Planting over 4,000 trees in the last three years.
  • Supporting the Living City Street Tree Planting Program, a capital program that aims to maximize the amount of tree canopy cover over our existing street network by infill-planting within available boulevard space throughout the City.
  • Protecting and expanding trees on private development sites using Development Permit Guidelines, streamside protection regulations, and sustainable development guidelines. The use of these tools ensures that most new private developments include the protection of existing trees where feasible and result in a net increase of onsite trees.

New Tree Bylaw

The City of North Vancouver has introduced a new bylaw which will help strengthen our urban forest and increase tree canopy cover. The Bylaw will regulate management of trees on private property in multi-family residential, commercial, civic, industrial, and mixed employment areas in the City. For trees on public property, please refer to the Street Trees webpage and the Tree Policy.

The City’s Tree Bylaw (No. 8888) was adopted by Council in March 2022. Key points in the bylaw include:

  • Trees at or greater than 20 cm diameter at breast height and replacement trees will require a permit for removal, even without active development taking place. 
  • Clarity on enforcement, ticketing, and fees for service.
  • Measures to mitigate ecological losses by requiring tree replacement and other environmental enhancements, including a requirement that at least one replacement tree be a conifer.
  • Better collection of data on private property trees within the City, including information on trees replaced, protected, and removed for better decision-making.

The City’s Tree Bylaw (No. 8888), outlines reasons for permitted removal of a protected tree and ensure these are consistent with legislative constraints, avoid ambiguity and minimize tree loss where possible.

These reasons include:

  • Located within a permitted building envelope, or area required for supportive infrastructure and on a parcel for which a rezoning, development permit or building permit application has been lodged;
  • Located within an area required to provide access during the construction of a permitted building or structure on the land;
  • Dead, dying, or high risk, as confirmed in writing by a certified arborist;
  • Directly interfering with utility wires, and not amenable to pruning to address the interference without compromising the health of the tree, all as certified by an arborist; and
  • Directly blocking or interfering with sewer or drainage systems, as certified by an accredited plumber or civil engineer.

In the event a property owner who is not engaged in a development process wishes to remove a protected tree on their property, the permissible reasons for doing so are limited to the last three bullets above.

To remove a tree, follow the process that fits your situation.


Tree Removal as Part of a Proposed Development

If you’re a property owner or developer and the site has trees that would meet permitted reasons for removal (as outlined in the bylaw) as part of a development application:

  1. Submit a Pre-Consultation Application - learn more on the Development Application process page.
  2. Hire a certified arborist to assess the trees on private property.
  3. Provide a site plan or survey, arborist report, tree protection plan, and tree replacement plan.
  4. Submit a Tree Removal Permit Application form at the time of Building Permit application, after a Development Permit has been issued or Rezoning approval has been granted.
  5. Pay the required fees.
  6. Begin work after Tree Removal Permit issuance, in accordance with the conditions of the permit.

Tree Removal Without Development Application

If you’re a property owner, have a permitted reason for tree removal, and your property is not subject to an active development application:

  1. Hire a certified arborist to assess the trees on private property.
  2. Provide a site plan or survey, arborist report, tree protection plan, and tree replacement plan.
  3. Submit a Tree Removal Permit Application form.
  4. Pay the required fees.
  5. Begin work after Tree Removal Permit issuance, in accordance with the conditions of the permit.

Hazardous Tree Removal

If you’re a property owner and need to imminently remove a hazardous tree:

  1. You may cut the tree without first obtaining a Tree Removal Permit only if it poses an imminent risk to life or property.
  2. Submit evidence within 24 hours after tree cutting that it was hazardous (e.g. photographs, written confirmation of imminent hazard by a certified tree risk assessor).
  3. Wait to remove the felled tree from private property until staff confirm receipt of required evidence.
  4. Pay the security deposit for the required replacement tree (to be refunded upon confirmation of planting).
  5. Remove felled tree after retroactive issuance of Tree Removal Permit.

Protection of heritage trees and other trees of community significance will be explored as part of the City’s Urban Forest Management Strategy, which is currently under development. Opportunities for the community to participate will be part of this work in 2022.

Property Owner FAQs

Why should I pay someone to deal with trees on my property rather than doing it on my own?

If you have concerns about trees on your own property or are considering tree removal, please call a professional tree care specialist to perform the work on trees. A professional tree care specialist is certified through the International Society of Aborists (ISA), and includes ISA Certified Arborists and ISA Qualified Tree Risk Assessors. These professionals will be able to write arborist reports, conduct tree risk assessments, perform tree removals, and perform hazardous tree removals.

I need to hire someone to deal with trees on my property. What should I ask them before hiring?

When hiring a professional tree care specialist, it’s important to ask these questions as they will be doing work on your property:

  • Are you an ISA Certified Arborist and/or ISA Qualified Tree Risk Assessor?
  • Do you have a City of North Vancouver business licence?
  • Do you have liability insurance?
  • What experience do you have conducting this type of work?
  • Are you familiar with the City of North Vancouver’s Tree Bylaw, 2022, No. 8888?


Arborist FAQs

Do I need to have a business licence to work on trees in the City?

If you’re an ISA Certified Arborist or ISA Qualified Tree Risk Assessor, and you’re conducting work in the City of North Vancouver, you’ll need a business licence. Visit the Apply, Renew & Pay for a Business Licence webpage to learn more about business licences in the City.

What information or documentation should I provide as part of my report?

For all arborist reports as part of the tree removal application, you are required to provide thorough documentation of the tree(s), good quality photographs, and a clear justification of the risk if the trees are considered hazardous, and submissions that are clearly deficient will be rejected. All work done to trees needs to be in compliance with the City of North Vancouver’s Tree Bylaw, 2022, No. 8888.

Tree Removal Conditions Under the New Tree Bylaw

The City’s Tree Bylaw (No. 8888), outlines reasons for permitted removal of a protected tree and ensure these are consistent with legislative constraints, avoid ambiguity and minimize tree loss where possible.

These reasons include:

  • Located within a permitted building envelope, or area required for supportive infrastructure and on a parcel for which a rezoning, development permit or building permit application has been lodged;
  • Located within an area required to provide access during the construction of a permitted building or structure on the land;
  • Dead, dying, or high risk, as confirmed in writing by a certified arborist;
  • Directly interfering with utility wires, and not amenable to pruning to address the interference without compromising the health of the tree, all as certified by an arborist; and
  • Directly blocking or interfering with sewer or drainage systems, as certified by an accredited plumber or civil engineer.

In the event a property owner who is not engaged in a development process wishes to remove a protected tree on their property, the permissible reasons for doing so are limited to the last three bullets above.

How to Obtain a Tree Removal Permit

To remove a tree, follow the process that fits your situation.


Tree Removal as Part of a Proposed Development

If you’re a property owner or developer and the site has trees that would meet permitted reasons for removal (as outlined in the bylaw) as part of a development application:

  1. Submit a Pre-Consultation Application - learn more on the Development Application process page.
  2. Hire a certified arborist to assess the trees on private property.
  3. Provide a site plan or survey, arborist report, tree protection plan, and tree replacement plan.
  4. Submit a Tree Removal Permit Application form at the time of Building Permit application, after a Development Permit has been issued or Rezoning approval has been granted.
  5. Pay the required fees.
  6. Begin work after Tree Removal Permit issuance, in accordance with the conditions of the permit.

Tree Removal Without Development Application

If you’re a property owner, have a permitted reason for tree removal, and your property is not subject to an active development application:

  1. Hire a certified arborist to assess the trees on private property.
  2. Provide a site plan or survey, arborist report, tree protection plan, and tree replacement plan.
  3. Submit a Tree Removal Permit Application form.
  4. Pay the required fees.
  5. Begin work after Tree Removal Permit issuance, in accordance with the conditions of the permit.

Hazardous Tree Removal

If you’re a property owner and need to imminently remove a hazardous tree:

  1. You may cut the tree without first obtaining a Tree Removal Permit only if it poses an imminent risk to life or property.
  2. Submit evidence within 24 hours after tree cutting that it was hazardous (e.g. photographs, written confirmation of imminent hazard by a certified tree risk assessor).
  3. Wait to remove the felled tree from private property until staff confirm receipt of required evidence.
  4. Pay the security deposit for the required replacement tree (to be refunded upon confirmation of planting).
  5. Remove felled tree after retroactive issuance of Tree Removal Permit.

Protection of Heritage Trees

Protection of heritage trees and other trees of community significance will be explored as part of the City’s Urban Forest Management Strategy, which is currently under development. Opportunities for the community to participate will be part of this work in 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Property Owner FAQs

Why should I pay someone to deal with trees on my property rather than doing it on my own?

If you have concerns about trees on your own property or are considering tree removal, please call a professional tree care specialist to perform the work on trees. A professional tree care specialist is certified through the International Society of Aborists (ISA), and includes ISA Certified Arborists and ISA Qualified Tree Risk Assessors. These professionals will be able to write arborist reports, conduct tree risk assessments, perform tree removals, and perform hazardous tree removals.

I need to hire someone to deal with trees on my property. What should I ask them before hiring?

When hiring a professional tree care specialist, it’s important to ask these questions as they will be doing work on your property:

  • Are you an ISA Certified Arborist and/or ISA Qualified Tree Risk Assessor?
  • Do you have a City of North Vancouver business licence?
  • Do you have liability insurance?
  • What experience do you have conducting this type of work?
  • Are you familiar with the City of North Vancouver’s Tree Bylaw, 2022, No. 8888?


Arborist FAQs

Do I need to have a business licence to work on trees in the City?

If you’re an ISA Certified Arborist or ISA Qualified Tree Risk Assessor, and you’re conducting work in the City of North Vancouver, you’ll need a business licence. Visit the Apply, Renew & Pay for a Business Licence webpage to learn more about business licences in the City.

What information or documentation should I provide as part of my report?

For all arborist reports as part of the tree removal application, you are required to provide thorough documentation of the tree(s), good quality photographs, and a clear justification of the risk if the trees are considered hazardous, and submissions that are clearly deficient will be rejected. All work done to trees needs to be in compliance with the City of North Vancouver’s Tree Bylaw, 2022, No. 8888.


More Long-Term Tree Management Solutions to Come

As the City continues to work to protect and expand our urban forest, we know we have more to do. Creating a broad tree management strategy and urban forest management strategy is in early stages, in coordination with the City’s Climate and Environment Strategy, with input from the Climate and Environment Advisory Task Force.

The Urban Forest Management Strategy will provide staff with long-term strategic guidance for the protection, maintenance, and growth of the City’s trees. This will help City staff to make recommendations on future bylaw updates and to create a registry of trees aimed to acknowledge and protect these critical natural assets to the community.

Work on these initiatives is expected to continue throughout the next year.


Contact Us

Questions? Email us at treebylaw@cnv.org.

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