The Village of Cumberland is making an urban forest bylaw a priority for 2022. Record file photo

The Village of Cumberland is making an urban forest bylaw a priority for 2022. Record file photo

Cumberland moves up tree bylaw work to 2022

Idea included in latest financial plan bylaw, which received three readings

Cumberland’s council wants to go ahead early with work on a tree bylaw for the village.

At the Dec. 13 meeting, council passed the first three readings of its five-year financial plan bylaw, which as chief financial officer Michelle Mason told council, was the same as presented in November, though it includes $30,000 in the operating budget for the urban forest management bylaw.

“It is in the bylaw,” she said.

At a meeting last month, staff did say they had planned to look at a bylaw on protecting green space within the city for 2023, but members of council asked to staff consider moving it ahead by a year, despite staff’s having a number of planning projects on the agenda for the coming year.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland considers moving up tree bylaw in work plan

Coun. Jesse Ketler had asked to look into the possibility of moving the project up to next year to develop a policy around tree retention in the community, especially in light of the amount of recent development in Cumberland. She cited benefits such as climate mitigation from shade and water retention as a reason to make it a priority sooner than planned.

Chief administrative officer Clayton Postings told council at the latest meeting staff had looked at the plan in terms of staffing capacity.

“We want to make sure we have that capacity,” he said. “We’re confident we can deliver on it, but it does come with a bit of risk.”

Postings noted the process is straightforward but includes a lot of community engagement. He noted village staff will also be working on other projects such as a transportation master plan and an arts and culture master plan, so they might need to adjust their priorities at some point during the year.

“It’s a year of a lot of engagement,” he added.

A staff report notes that work on the urban forest management bylaw could be undertaken with a budget increase from $15,000 to $30,000 to cover consulting support. It also notes the project could limit staff’s ability to respond to other emerging issues that could come up during 2022.

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