Tree Removal and Protection

Port Coquitlam’s Tree Bylaw aims to protect our city’s natural heritage and acknowledges the value of maintaining our trees. It applies to all land in Port Coquitlam except properties within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

Under the bylaw, it is unlawful to cut trees on any land not in the ALR without having obtained a Tree-Cutting Permit. For the purposes of this bylaw, a tree is defined as having a diameter of at least 20 cm (8 in) measured at 1.4 m (4.5 ft) above the ground.

Exemptions

Trees may be removed without a Tree-Cutting Permit under these circumstances:

  • surveyors cutting survey lines having a width less than 2 m (7 ft)
  • removal/pruning of dead, diseased and damaged trees (arborist report may be required)
  • emergency removal of dangerous or hazardous trees and branches – the City may require such trees to be replaced
  • pruning and/or removal of hedges

The bylaw prohibits these tree-damaging activities:

  • cutting, undermining or damaging roots
  • placing fill, building materials or other structures over the roots
  • operating trucks, backhoes, excavators or other heavy equipment over the roots
  • denting, gouging or damaging the trunk
  • removing or scraping bark
  • depositing concrete washout or other harmful substances near the roots
  • adding or removing soil to change the original soil grade
  • tree topping (cutting off the top portion of a tree)

Reporting a tree of concern

Public Property

The City is responsible for maintaining trees on public property, such as park land or on a boulevard.

To report a problem, call Public Works at 604.927.5496 (Monday-Friday, 8am to 4pm). For after-hours emergencies, call 604.543.6700.

Private Property

The health and maintenance of a tree on private property is the responsibility of the property owner.

If you are concerned about a tree your property, please contact a certified arborist for advice, Please refer to the International Society of Arboriculture Directory to find an certified arborist.

Steps to Get a Tree-Cutting Permit

Step 1
Under the City’s Tree Bylaw (#3474), a property owner can apply to the City to cut down one or all the trees on their property per calendar year.  The City’s Arborist must review all applications for tree cutting (including one “free” tree) to see if any significant trees are involved. The definition of a significant tree can be found in the Tree Bylaw.
Step 2
The applicant completes the online tree cutting application form. When the applicant does not own the land, a letter of authorization must be included from the property owner.
Step 3

The City’s Arborist will review the applicant’s package and advise them if any of following are also required prior to the issuance of a tree cutting permit:

  • a tree survey
  • a tree cutting and replacement plan
  • an arborist’s report
  • proof of liability insurance carried by the owner or tree removal contractor retained
  • proof of approval of the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and/or Fisheries and Oceans Canada in the case of any areas protected for fish habitat or flood-proofing purposes
  • a report from a geotechnical engineer confirming to the City’s satisfaction that the proposed tree cutting and replacement plan shall not in any way create a danger to the lands or adjacent lands from flooding, erosion, land slip or potential tree falls, where required by the City
  • Where applicable, adherence to the City’s approved Watercourse Development Permit Area designation of the 2005 Official Community Plan
  • Proof there are no applicable covenants in favour of the City restricting tree cutting and/or
  • Security deposit of 100% of the value of all the replacement trees and site restoration
Step 4
Staff will call the applicant and let them know their permit is ready for payment and pick-up in Development Services (above the Bank of Montreal and Starbucks on Shaughnessy Street beside City Hall).
Step 5
Staff in Development Services will collect the applicable fees and issue the tree cutting permit.  They will also scan a copy of the signed permit to be retained for City records.
Step 6 (if applicable)
Upon completion of a tree replacement plan or site restoration work, the applicant may request to have their security deposit returned or letter of credit released. Staff will review the site to ensure compliancy and then have staff issue a refund or release the letter of credit.

Tree Bylaw Fines

A fine is levied for each tree cut and tree-damaging activity that is in contravention of this bylaw. In addition, a replacement tree plan may be required.

All fees and/or fines collected go towards planting new trees in the City. To view the Tree bylaw, click here.

Contact

Public Works
Tel:  604.927.5496
Email:  publicworks@portcoquitlam.ca