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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
.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.
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.