Given the importance of tree canopy and clean water, we asked Port Coquitlam candidates one simple question:
Is the city doing enough to protect trees and waterways?
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We do better in some areas than others. Natural assets have tangible service value that is unaccounted for. Completing a Natural Assets Management inventory and environmental impact assessments before capital project approval, would better inform the long-term impacts. Mature trees and waterways take decades to restore if ever. Homeowners who live on or adjacent to waterways need better access to information and resources.
I am unsure on whether we protect existing trees but clear on the City of Port Coquitlam’s willingness to plan for the future. I feel as a province we do not do enough to protect our waterways and trees. If elected, I would work hard to ensure protection of our waterways and existing trees. UN’s challenge to cities to plant 5000 trees is a project that I will advocate for.
Nancy McCurrach (incumbent)
We have one of the toughest tree bylaws in the province, and because of this our trees are being protected. On the doorsteps residents remark on how the clearcut on Burke Mountain continues to grow in Coquitlam, and how the hillside has forever changed Port Coquitlam below. The consequences are troublesome and the burden on our infrastructure in regards to traffic; our schools, and watercourse below is evident. During the atmospheric rivers in our watershed along Hyde Creek, trees and debris from above come downstream clogging a culvert caused flooding to our citizens below. We need to ensure that the City of Coquitlam continues to understands how their growth above has negatively affecting us more often. There are plans for a new pump station at Cedar Drive and a new culvert just went on Burns Rd to protect our waterways, more plans are in the works, and many more trees continue to be planted around the city.
Steve Darling (incumbent)
Port Coquitlam has one of the strongest tree bylaws in British Columbia and I will continue to be a advocate for smart development that lives up that tree bylaw. Port Coquitlam has bylaws in place to protect waterways and hope to make them stronger.
I have to say there’s strong room for improvement here. More trees need to be planted, we need to come up with innovative options for more greenery – maybe parklets in alley ways, shade options at dog parks that could use more green cover etc
Port Coquitlam has a robust Environmental Strategic Plan with clear goals in protecting trees and waterways. It is a model for other communities. With the effects of climate change being more obvious, and with environmental pressures increasing because of development, Council needs to continually revisit the goals of the Plan.
Darrell Penner (incumbent)
Tree protection of course important. We have a tree bylaw that in most cases require replanting of trees when trees are needed to be removed. Our waterways fall under Provincial and Federal regulations, which we enforce. Continue to improve fish passage along with flood mitigation is on going.
The City’s tree bylaw is quite robust and ensures removed trees are replaced. Developers are required to consider and adhere to the City’s rules and bylaws regarding riparian zones.
Glenn Pollock (incumbent)
Justin Alexander Smith
We need to place more focus on protecting trees & waterways in our city. When moving forward with plans, we should prevent & reduce environmental degradation. It’s complicated, especially when looking at densification, but absolutely crucial to maintain the natural beauty of our city.
The city has done a relatively good job at this, but it needs to remain a priority as our community grows. Including specific policies around tree and waterway protection in a comprehensive Climate Action plan is crucial.