Pickering Tree Removal By-Laws

Everything you need to know about tree removal regulations in Pickering, Ontario

To protect and preserve the environment, the city of Pickering has tree removal by-laws such as the Tree Protection By-Law. The City’s goal is to protect trees along shorelines and stream corridors, in wetlands, and in other environmentally significant areas. 

According to the by-laws for Pickering tree removal, the City has designated Tree Protection Areas. This by-law prohibits the removal of healthy trees within the protected areas and the surrounding 30 meters. 

The Tree Protection By-Law applies to private and commercial property although some exemptions apply. See the City’s by-law for specific exemptions.

General Exemptions

  • The removal of trees outside Tree Protection Areas is legally allowed.
  • Trees within a Tree Protection Area that are less than 25mm in diameter at 1.5 meters above grads are exempt from the requirements of the by-law.
  • The removal of Ash trees concerning the Emerald Ash Borer infestation is exempt from the requirements of the by-law. 

Permit Application

If you wish to remove healthy trees within a designated Tree Protection area, you must apply for a permit from the City. There is a $100 application fee. A permit will be issued if the following requirements are met by the applicant.

  • The applicant has fulfilled all the requirements for an application under the by-law.
  • The proposed removal of trees is associated with the existing use of the property and following good forestry practices as outlined in the by-law.
  • The Clerk is satisfied that the proposed tree removal will not interfere with natural drainage, cause soil erosion or slope instability, negatively impact vegetation on adjacent property, or negatively impact fish and wildlife habitat in the proposed area or adjacent property. 

Some special conditions may also be imposed by the Clerk to ensure the performance of the obligations set out in the tree removal proposal. The applicant may also be required to put up security with the City in an amount determined by the Clerk. 

The Clerk also reserves the right to consult with qualified professionals to seek their opinions about the proposal and application before issuing a permit. 

Appeals

There is an appeal process available if your application is rejected. The applicant may appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board if:

  • The Clerk refuses to issue a permit.
  • The Clerk fails to decide within 45 days of receiving the application and all pertinent proposal information.
  • The applicant objects to any conditions in the permit set by the Clerk.

Enforcement and Fines

The City takes the Tree Protection By-Law very seriously. The by-law is continuously enforced by the Durham Regional Police Service, the City Municipal Law Enforcement Services, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Cutting down trees in a protected area will result in prosecution and fines. A first-time conviction will result in a fine of whichever amount is greater, $10,000 or $1,000 per tree. A second conviction will result in a fine of whichever amount is greater, $25,000 or $2,500 per tree. 

Any person convicted under this by-law may also be ordered to rehabilitate the land and replant trees. 

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