Trees on private property

Bylaw No. 2407, Tree Protection Bylaw, has been put in place to ensure the provision of a sustainable, and grow a healthy urban tree canopy within the City of White Rock. In order to achieve this goal, the Bylaw prohibits the unauthorized removal of or damage to protected trees on private property in the City of White Rock. Where removal is deemed necessary, the Bylaw ensures that adequate replanting occurs.

The Planning and Development Services Department is responsible for issuing tree management permits as per Bylaw No. 2407, Tree Protection Bylaw (PDF). For more information on tree management on private land, please contact the Arboricultural Technician at 604-541-2143, or 

cherry blossom tree on private property

Cutting & Removing Trees

Refer to the City of White Rock Bylaw No. 2407, Tree Protection Bylaw (PDF). This bylaw applies to all private land in the City including “ravine lands,” “significant stands of trees areas” and “ecosystem enhancement areas.” This bylaw applies to all trees with trunk diameter of 20 centimetres (7.87 inches) or greater measured 1.4 metres above grade, as defined in the bylaw.

Request for tree removal will require submission of an Arborist report and reasons for removal as outlined in the bylaw. Tree Management Permits for cutting and removal may be considered in the following situations:

  1. Type 1 - to remove a dead, diseased or hazardous high-risk  "protected tree" 
  2. Type 2 - to remove an unwanted "protected tree" i.e. for example a tree that is destroying property or is completely obstructing views and cannot be resolved with sound arboricultural practices.
  3. Type 3 - to remove a "protected tree" on a property in conjunction with a development proposal on a property under application for building permit, demolition permit, development permit or subdivision.

Tree Pruning

A tree management permit is not required for the pruning of a protected tree provided that the pruning is conducted in accordance with the standards and recommendations of the International Society of Arboriculture. Pruning shall not include:

  • The crown raising of lower limbs to the extent that the live crown ratio is less than 65%
  • The pruning or removal of a structural root within the critical root zone of a protected tree
  • The removal of more than 25% of the crown in one season
  • Topping

The City of White Rock recommends hiring a Certified Arborist for pruning all trees.

Removed Trees are Required to be Replaced

Except for dead or hazardous trees, the City has initiated replacement tree requirements with the objective of increasing the overall tree canopy in the City over time. The City will require the posting of securities for replacement trees prior to the issue of any permits, and prior to any tree cutting or removal. A minimum of two replacement trees will be required for one tree cut or removed, however, the number and size of replacement trees is actually dependent upon the size of the "protected tree" removed i.e. up to as many as six replacement trees for one tree of trunk diameter 85 centimeters cut or removed. Applicants may be required to submit a "coordinated site development plan (CSDP)" as outlined in the Bylaw No. 2407, Tree Protection Bylaw (PDF).


Type 2 requests will require a plan or survey, drawn to scale, identifying the location, size and species of tree or trees to be removed, the location, size and species of replacement planting. The plan should also indicate the location of nearby buildings or structures. All applicants are required to indicate on the application form the reasons for the proposed tree removal.

Type 3 requests require the submission of a site survey or site plan, together with their application plans for development, and which also contains the following information:

  • Identification of which trees are to be removed, replaced, or retained
  • Location of protective fencing to protect retained trees during construction activity (see Tree Protection Guidelines).
  • The location, size and species of all trees within the vicinity of the proposed construction. The extent of the dripline of the tree should also be indicated. All trees which are over 20 centimetres (7.87 inches) in diameter (measured at 1.4m above grade) should be identified on the plan
  • Location, size and species of replacement trees or other planting material
  • Tree grades (existing tree base elevations) for those trees that are affected by the proposed development, and spot elevations in the vicinity of the proposed development

Additional Requirements

In the 'ravine lands' and 'significant stands of mature trees' areas, a Minor Development Permit (PDF) is required. In the 'ravine lands' area applicants will be required to provide geotechnical review to confirm that tree removal will not adversely impact soil stability. Applicants are requested to consult with Planning and Development Services Staff on applications in these areas.

If the tree to be removed is near an open watercourse, Provincial and/or Federal regulations may apply as well as special development permit requirements in accordance with Provincial Riparian Area Regulations. This can be confirmed with Planning and Development Services Staff.


Applications fee for a tree management permit shall be made in accordance to the City's Fees and Charges Bylaw 2401, Schedule A (PDF). The costs of all survey work, arborist's reports and coordinated site development plans will be borne by the applicants.