Read my answers to the Community Trees Matter Network’s election survey.
Our urban forest is key to our prosperity so I was happy to answer this survey with my thoughts.
1. Our municipality’s forest canopy is both shrinking and becoming less dense at a rapid rate. Since trees provide essential ecological services, such as flood control, cleaning and cooling the air, and producing oxygen to name just a few, and since trees have a proven beneficial impact on public health, what will you do to protect our existing canopy, and increase it as quickly as possible?
I am a supporter of Colwood’s Interim Urban Forest Bylaw #1710. While not perfect it is a start. I believe in fact based decision making. After a review of the data from this bylaw, I will support strengthening it if the data shows we need to do so. We simply don’t know how many trees are being cut in the community or even what our tree inventory consists of.
2. How much of a priority is this to you? How soon will you act?
Green space is important to me as are the myriad benefits of trees. I am a garden writer and garden destination marketer, I understand the value of our flora and would like to see it preserved and enhanced.
3. What will you do to protect this municipality’s trees? How soon? How will you increase the budget for tree care, and tree planting? What creative ideas do you have to increase our city’s tree canopy?
We need an inventory of trees in Colwood. I would support first identifying exactly how many trees we have, of what type, where they are located, health, age, and at risk situation. Perhaps we could us an online app such as Plants Map to start the process. When people understand exactly what they have, they are more apt to want to preserve, protect, and enhance.
4. How will you encourage builders to leave mature trees in place?
I favour a replacement model which incorporates guaranteed care over a long period of time for any replacement trees planted when development has to remove any tree, and especially garry oak and arbutus, among others. Understandably this is expensive. I would rather we find creative ways for mature trees to be left in situ.
5. Will you introduce and use serious penalties for those who harm or kill our life-giving trees? (Mississauga charges a replacement fee of more than $700 for a damaged or destroyed street tree. In the region, it averages about $40 a tree.)
Colwood’s Urban Forest Bylaw sets out replacement tree costs and fine for contravention far in excess of these. I am not in favour at this time of increasing those fees. (See page 20 and Schedule A of Bylaw #1710)
See the survey answers from all candidates.
Want to see more about Scott? See his About page.