North Cowichan councillor Rod Douglas has filed a successful motion for more street and shade trees in future developments in the municipality. (File photo)

North Cowichan councillor Rod Douglas has filed a successful motion for more street and shade trees in future developments in the municipality. (File photo)

Street trees get backing in North Cowichan

Council wants more trees in new developments

Expect street trees to play a bigger role in development plans in North Cowichan in the future.

Council unanimously passed a motion at its meeting on April 21 directing staff to introduce policies and regulations to expand the number of street trees and shade trees in residential and commercial developments and public works projects as part of the municipality’s updated Official Community Plan, and any other relevant initiatives planned or underway.

Count. Rob Douglas, who introduced the motion, said street trees have a significant but often under-appreciated impact on North Cowichan’s communities, including residential neighbourhoods, downtown cores and shopping centres.


He said their benefits are well-documented in planning and design literature, and have been incorporated into street design guidelines in municipalities around the world.

Douglas listed a number benefits of having street-lined streets in North Cowichan; including improved air and water quality, lower violent and property crime rates, increased property values, psychological well-being, and more walkable and bicycle-friendly streets.

“In contrast, streets without consistent shade tree planting are more barren and hotter, appreciate less in real estate value, and do not calm traffic speed,” he said.

“Sadly, these streets are the norm in many residential and commercial developments. Traditionally, North Cowichan has not required tree-lined streets in major residential developments, but in recent years, shade trees have been incorporated into major commercial developments and public works projects, such as the 5,000-hectare Cowichan Commons shopping centre and revitalization projects on Beverly Street, Joan Avenue and Chemainus Road.”

Douglas said a number of recently developed local area plans in the municipality also contain numerous specific policies to encourage and require shade trees in streetscapes.


“While the policies in these LAPs are important tools for improving streetscape design, they do not apply to significant portions of the municipality earmarked for future development, nor do they do anything to enhance streetscapes in established suburban neighbourhoods,” he said.

Planning and building director Rob Conway said much of what Douglas is proposing in regards to policies and regulations is in the works, and he expects trees will have a prominent presence in the updated OCP.

“Much of the policy and regulation work that is coming up have opportunities to build some of these concepts in them,” he said.

“It’s good time to be considering these types of features in our regulations.”

But Mayor Al Siebring said that while he’s not opposed to Douglas’s motion, he’s not jumping up and down about it either.

“We’re already doing this in a number of areas so this is not new; it’s an attempt to entrench it in policy to ensure we keep doing it,” he said.

“That’s fine and I don’t want to denigrate the motion and I intend to vote for it, but we’d keep doing this even without this motion coming forward.”

In response, Coun. Kate Marsh countered that “policy is harder to change than a habit” and said she’s in full support of the motion.

municipal politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dan McCauley put his carpentry skills to work to create this new bench in downtown Chemainus from blowdown wood. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Former carpenter spruces up bench with Douglas fir

Blowdown wood utilized to create a polished sitting space downtown

Municipality of North Cowichan.
Electrical contract awarded for RCMP building

Council meeting recap from May 5 includes Island Health delegation on wellness and recovery centre

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley looks at electric school bus acquisition as driving Cowichan forward. (Photo submitted)
New electric school bus for Cowichan district

Higher price offset by reduced repair and maintenance costs compared to diesel

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor. (Photo by Bernard Thibodeau)
MacGregor introduces bill to mark Canadian Armed Forces Members Day Oct. 22

Objective to honour those who’ve lost their lives in non-combat roles on Canadian soil

The Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop remains closed for the time being. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Healthcare Auxiliaries Day marks 76 years on Saturday, May 8

Chemainus Thrift Shop situation will be revisited Tuesday

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read