Candidate Questions: Trees – PoCo Heritage Trees

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Question to Mayor and Council Candidates

Trees help reduce energy costs, increase livability and property values, have proven to be good for our health, sequester carbon, keep our air clean, reduce flooding, produce food and habitat for wildlife and make our streets safer. Port Coquitlam’s canopy coverage was recently estimated to be 23.8% As a City Councillor, what percentage canopy coverage would you support and what actions would you take to protect and increase our tree canopy in order to achieve this goal? (PoCo Heritage Trees)

 

Robert Delagiroday

The most serious issue related to our green spaces is residential development and expansion.  As a part of the Lower Mainland, densification and development is inevitable.  What we need to concentrate on is how that development will manifest.  We need to ensure that our green spaces are not infringed upon, and that any future development has a requisite amount of green space as part of the finished product.
Given the impact that the rail system has on our community both as a noise and air polluter, we should engage with the rail service providers and the federal government to mitigate the impact it has on our community.  Enhancing green spaces, especially with trees, along the rail belt will reduce the impact of both the rail system and nearby traffic.  This will also mititgate the impact of the Lougheed Highway.  This should be done at the expense of the rail service and the federal government, so that it does not impact our taxes.
Improvements to our business districts should also include natural fixtures, like trees, to rejuvenate our shopping areas and attract new business.  We have the capacity to build thriving shopping areas, but the optics of Shaughnessy and Meridian/Prairie have a long way to go. The newer commercial development at Riverside is a concrete desert that should be punctuated with more green areas, and we need to have that conversation with the developers of those projects.
I cannot give you a particular percentage because any number that I would give you, or any candidate woud give you, would be disingenuous.  What needs to happen is incremental and continual improvements to our green spaces over time.  This would be an unending process, so reducing it to a minimum percentage would be arbitrary.

Nancy Mccurrach

I fully support increasing the city’s tree canopy from its current 23.8% to 30.% by 2042 and even a higher if possible.

I spoke out and asked questions during question period at a City Council meeting to try and prevent the large sequoia trees from being cut down in front of the Terry Fox Library. The stumps are still sadly visible today. We will have to wait and see after the Rec Centre is completed if they really needed to come down. I have demonstrated my actions to protect our heritage trees. Shortly after the sequoia trees came down the city implemented a new Tree Bylaw thanks to the hard work of several activists and Counc. Laura Dupont. I have had the good fortune of being an active member with the PoCo Heritage Trees group for the past two years where I have learned a great deal about trees. We are compiling a list of all the Heritage Trees in Poco.  I believe it is crucial to educate the public more on the benefits of trees and protecting heritage trees, such as by continuing to invite people to the Secret Life of Trees 2.0 Display at the PoCo Heritage Museum. Other ways to get people more engaged in understanding why it is important to increase our tree canopy would be by hosting town halls that have documentaries on trees.  Trees are much needed to protect our salmon bearing steams, provide shade, prevent erosion, creating beauty, cool the earth temperature down, produce oxygen and so many more reasons. My late father was a registered forester in silviculture (tree planting) and from a very young age he instilled in me the value of trees. Can you imagine our planet without trees? We simply would not exist.

Shakeel Gaya

Thank you for raising such an important issue , an issue which impacts not only our life but those of coming generations .
The first thing mentioned on my platform is high density living in designated areas. The rationale being that the land spared from the terrible urban sprawl be converted to a green space for all to enjoy. Green spaces and specially trees are our lungs and filter out the toxic carbon dioxide and other materials replacing it with oxygen. Furthermore the high density will strengthen our demand for a sky train and facilitate it. With the arrival of better transit like sky train the cars and congestion can be reduced leading to less pollution and a better quality of life . I strongly believe that the canopy coverage of Port Coquitlam can be increased consistently by better urban planning , something the current council has failed to recognize.
If my reasoning is something you connect with , I urge you to come on October 20 , and vote for a positive change in the council which will lead to a better outcome for our city . Details of my platform can be viewed on my facebook :  gaya4poco

Darin Nielsen

Protecting The Environment For A Sustainable Future: Tree Canopy – 30% Target for PoCo by 2042

  • Street trees and trees located in parks and natural spaces provide enormous value – cleaning the air, helping to manage rainwater, providing habitat, creating shade, and offering opportunities to interact with the natural world.
  • Urban street trees provide a canopy, root structure and setting for important insect and bacterial life below the surface; at grade for pets and romantic people to pause for what pets and romantic people pause for; they act as essential lofty environments for song birds, seeds, nuts, squirrels and other urban life.
  • Green space increase in existing neighbourhoods when redeveloped.

Glenn Pollock

I’m going to follow the lead of my Council Colleague Laura Dupont on this one.  She has been our “Tree Champion” on Council and I believe is advocating for a 30% canopy.  She has led the charge as well on establishing a Tree Policy for the City which both the City and the development community will have to abide by.  The Tree Policy includes a “tree bank” where if developers can’t replace every tree on a site they have to donate money to the bank and this money will go towards planting trees elsewhere in the City.  We’ve already seen a change in the attitude of the development community with two recent applications having a greater degree of consideration for trees.  Councilor Dupont has been outspoken and consistent in her advocacy for trees and should I be fortunate enough to be re-elected I will continue to support her on this issue.

Priscilla Omulo

Upon being elected I would advocate for any new projects to have trees in the development plan. I would work with PoCo Heritage Tree to ensure we are supporting community efforts to preserve the beautiful trees we have in our community. I would also work with PoCo Heritage tree to keep up there great engagement work with the community by promoting the tree walks and events like the knitted tree bomb and the holiday tree decorating. The more people know the importance and fun of trees the more the community will be on board planting, preserving and playing with trees.

Dawn Becker

I love trees – I grew up on the north coast where trees are huge and the forests are dense.  I believe the trees we have lining our streets, in our yards, parks, and along the rivers and streams, are a large part of what makes PoCo so attractive to residents and desirable to newcomers. I must admit I prefer a beautiful coniferous tree; we replaced an ageing flowering cherry with a Mountain hemlock in our front yard and have a gorgeous white pine in the backyard – if we had a larger yard there would be more trees. I would support a canopy coverage that would provide a balance – and if we are currently at 23.8%, try not to go any lower than that. Conservation of the flora found in the community is important to me and I would support development that takes this into consideration.

Justin Traviss

.I would support community gardens, street tree programs, and other green initiatives to increase the percentage of tree canopy. I would also support an initiative that new developments must replace trees that have been taken down with similar, native species.

Mike Forrest

Hats Off !  to the Heritage Tree Committee for their passion at delivery of tree consciousness in Port Coquitlam !

I do not know what tree canopy % should be applied to POCO.

I was at the presentation of the 23%  number and though I do not agree with some of the comparisons that were made, I believe we are doing reasonably well.

We have lost many trees due to development in our city , and many due to dangers they create in an urban environment.

However, much of the land upon which all of our present homes are built was cleared of forest canopy to allow the development.

We need to have a plan and budget to plant  trees every year but they need to be the correct trees for the area of the planting so that they will not only produce the desired canopy but will survive in the longer term.

I believe we should build a Tree Reserve Fund  from $  from various sources such as  from developers that pay when large trees are removed ,as well as any fines that are collected as a result of tree infractions as well as some $ from an annual contribution from budget.

Laura Dupont

I think 30 percent is an achievable and reasonable canopy coverage I would be happy to advocate for.
Quantifying how trees reduce our energy costs will help our community to save money.
I would advocate for a “Tree Management Policy” as part of the tree bylaw update.  This policy would include replacement for trees lost and work to preserve trees where ever it is possible.  I would advocate for a “site assessment” before any development or demolition takes place to give consideration for any community assets (such as trees or heritage buildings).
I would encourage an inventory of public spaces where trees could be planted, if not feasible to replant on a development site so we can achieve our canopy target.
I commit to exploring the various ways ecosystem services, like trees can assist in providing municipal services, as well as make us resilient to the effects of climate change.

Erhan Demirkaya

Canopy cover is a very important indicator for human health,ecosystem services,economic and aesthetic values that trees generate for our cities.
I will support a strong approach that links tree removel to tree replacement and active tree planting programs.

Carolyn Stewart

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