As Coquitlam aims to be a growing city with a shrinking footprint, we asked candidates one question: Is the city doing enough to protect trees and waterways?
Here’s what they said.
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No. Coquitlam is losing tree cover every year and waterways are being polluted by construction, dumping, and contaminated stormwater. I would like to see a tree protection bylaw that does not unduly inconvenience homeowners and has an adequate replacement policy. I would also support a program of improving stormwater management – such as adding wetlands, permeable surfaces and daylighting creeks.
I believe we can do more by providing a program whereby any person or business that removes trees of a certain size will have to plant new ones in areas set out by the city and monitored to ensure long term growth. For waterways I would like to see more remote monitoring programs so we catch problems sooner and much heavier penalties for dumping pollutants into our waterways.
No. Current development practises in established neighbourhoods allows for the loss of too many older growth trees. Trees provide fresh air, cool the ambient temperature, and take carbon out of the atmosphere. As for waterways, ensure development is done at a distance from our creeks and streams.
There are numerous concerns regarding the decline of the urban canopies in Coquitlam. Because green spaces are vital for our mental health and well-being, we need to preserve green spaces and find ways to relocate and save mature trees, rather than substituting an old-growth tree with three saplings.
Yes and no, I know of development plans that can’t go through yet because of hatchery concerns, but they also want to develop Burke Mountain and cut down trees.
Dennis Marsden (incumbent)
We are heading in the right direction with etc upcoming tree canopy work and climate plan. balancing tree preservation with replacement and addressing the housing need is a challenge and I look forward to making progress in this area.
Teri Towner (incumbent)
There are plans, policies, regulations in place. Should Coquitlam always strive to do more? Yes, wherever and whenever possible. The Environmental Sustainability Plan was approved in 2022, the “Tree Spree” has 10,000 trees being planted in 2022 – and more.
Waterways yes, and it is great to see the salmon beginning to return to our streams and rivers. There is an opportunity to do more to protect our mature trees, including set-asides in new developments.
Trish Mandewo (incumbent)
We can never do enough when it comes to protecting trees and waterways. Climate change is of high priority to the city of Coquitlam and we are committed to taking action to both mitigate and prepare for a changing climate and its impacts. New greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, including achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and enhancing our tree canopy.
No, the tree bylaws have to be reviewed as there are too many trees being cut down right now. As for the waterways, we need to provide wider setbacks from streams and rivers from development to protect these sensitive areas.
No. I am very concerned about the rapid development of the Oakdale Neighbourhood and its adverse effects on Stoney Creek. We need to slow this development down and assess the impacts before proceeding. I support high density around SkyTrain hubs, but I have identified environmental risks associated with development around tree lines, such as Oakdale, Westwood Plateau and Burke Mountain. I support measures that help retain trees on development properties.
The City’s new Environmental and Sustainability Plans lays out some good steps forward. I would like to see greater monitoring of construction runoff and a goal in place to restore our urban tree canopy to above the current 32 percent of land coverage.