Tree Preservation and Compensation Policy Update

3 People planting trees


The Town of Georgina is a growing municipality and as the population increases, existing natural areas including trees, are under added pressure through development and redevelopment. The Town recognizes the importance of trees to the health and viability of healthy communities and the need to protect and maintain a mature tree canopy. A healthy urban forest contributes to the physical and mental health, as well as the overall social wellness of residents and wildlife populations. Trees in the urban forest is nature’s resilient way to reduce the damaging effects associated with increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

If an existing tree with a large canopy is healthy and happy, why disturb it.

Currently, the Town has a Tree Preservation and Compensation Policy passed in 2016, which applies to certain types of development applications. Staff are in the process of reviewing this policy for updates to promote the development of healthier and more resilient communities, and to better align with the comments and concerns of our surrounding residents. 

The Town will continue to preserve the urban forest through an updated Tree Preservation and Compensation Policy. Through this update process, the Town seeks to implement best practices of care and maintenance of existing trees, identify and work with the community in the restoration and tree planting, and mitigate tree disturbances through the development application process.

The Town is working on its planning and development processes to seek and implement a more diverse urban forest that will be more sustainable and enjoyable for all.

We would like your input. Review the draft policy and provide comment through email.

Public engagement

Town contact

Justine Burns, Senior Landscape Architect
905-476-4301, ext. 2246

Have your say

It is important to get input – to engage with community members and stakeholders to understand the urban forest today, and to develop ways to ensure its health, and protect the benefits that trees bring to our community.

Your comments will assist the Town in updating the policy to better reflect the community attitudes and will be used to help develop a direction for future protection of trees/natural areas within the Town, through more informed reports to Council.


Did you know the Town has the largest amount of tree canopy compared to all other municipalities in York Region? We are working on an update to the Tree Preservation and Compensation Policy and we need your input. The survey is now closed.

Public Open House

In-person Public Open House on Dec. 7, 2023 in the Council Chamber from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.


Frequently asked questions

Why are trees important?

Trees absorb carbon dioxide through their leaves every day as they use it to grow, providing us with clean air.
Scientists believe that planting more trees and retaining as much of our tree canopy as we can, will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the environment. One large tree can provide a days’ worth of oxygen for up to four people.

The Town would like to do its part to reduce the effects of greenhouse gases. The Town also believes that trees are essential to our health and well-being for a vibrant sustainable community.

Trees are a valuable asset to this community in other ways. They also:

  • Reduce the effects of heat on houses and streets through shading
  • Provide habitat to insects and wildlife
  • Conserve energy
  • Help prevent water pollution by reducing water run off
  • Aid in stress reduction
  • Save water by slowing evaporation and increasing atmospheric moisture
  • Create enjoyment and beauty

Why do we need to reduce carbon dioxide in the air?

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas produced by burning fuel such as oil and gas in engines and buildings. Carbon dioxide and methane gas go up into the atmosphere and aid in trapping heat, which would otherwise dissipate outwards towards the sun. These types of gas molecules have properties that trap heat energy. As more cars and buildings are created, more of these gases enter the atmosphere and more heat becomes trapped. This is called the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ which is affecting our weather patterns, climate and environment in many ways.

What is urban heat island effect and how does trees influence this effect?

Urban heat island effect is found when large area surfaces are hardscaped. Trees and vegetation lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade and cooling through evaporation and transpiration. Transpiration is a process in which trees and vegetation absorb water through their roots and cool surroundings by releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves. Trees and vegetation also provide cooling through evaporation of rainfall, collecting on leaves and soil. Research shows that urban forests have temperatures that can be up to 12C on average lower than unforested urban areas. Tree planting is important for overall thermal comfort of our open spaces and to help mitigate urban island effect.

Why do we need to update the tree preservation and compensation policy?

All planning applications submitted to the Town of Georgina are subject to Policy OID-01 as it relates to tree inventory, preservation, protection and compensation. Planning applications include Committee of Adjustment applications, as well as all plans of subdivision, zoning Bb-law amendment, Official Plan amendment and site plan application. In order to keep up with the ever changing impacts of development, we need to stay current by reviewing and updating the policy regularly.

Is the Town Implementing a tree cutting bylaw?

Although the attached document has reference to a tree cutting bylaw the Town is not implementing a tree-cutting bylaw at this point, through the Tree Preservation and Compensation Policy update. Through this update, Town staff will be gathering information and insight to the public views/opinions of the importance of protecting trees.

Contact Us

26557 Civic Centre Rd,
Keswick, ON  L4P 3G1

T: 905-476-4301 / 705-437-2210
F: 905-476-8100

Hours of Operation

Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.