Surrey’s tree bylaw may be getting a lot stronger, if recommendations from the city’s environment committee are adopted by Surrey council on Monday.

The Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee is forwarding recommendations for several key changes to the city’s Tree Protection Bylaw.

They are expected to be presented to council on Monday night, as recommendations from the committee. If adopted as written, Surrey staff would go about preparing a report for detailing the changes.

The changes include:

  • examining the “capital values” of trees that are removed and ensure penalties are scaled to the size of the tree. For instance, a tree 100 cm diameter at breast height would have a higher permit fees and greater fines if they’re cut down without permission.
  • Providing additional incentives to builders and homeowners to retain trees.
  • Improve visibility and display of tree cutting permit notices, and consider an online tree cutting permit database.
  • Consider the potential for a municipal nursery for tree and plant salvage.
  • Provide better mechanisms to allow for effective enforcement.
  • Consider benefits that trees provide to the ecosystem

The latter recommendation alludes to something brought up frequently before council by Deb Jack, president of the Surrey Environmental Partners. Jack wants to see alder and spruce given more consideration by the city.

Often described as scrub, both trees have a huge value as a carbon sink, which has a great effect in preventing global warming.

Surrey council was expected to adopt the recommendations at it regular meeting at 7 p.m.