City of New Westminster introduces Urban Forest Management Strategy
New Westminster – The City of New Westminster has introduced a city-wide Urban Forest Management Strategy that will provide direction for protecting, maintaining and enhancing New Westminster’s urban forest. The strategy is supported by a Tree Protection and Regulation Bylaw passed on January 13, 2016.
The Urban Forest Management Strategy identifies a comprehensive set of 38 actions to be implemented over 20 years to reverse the current 1.5% per year decline in canopy coverage and increase New Westminster’s tree canopy cover from 18% to a target of 27%. Without proactive measures, the city will experience substantial loss in urban amenities, air quality, shade, urban ecology and other important benefits.
“New Westminster’s urban forest is highly valued for not only it’s environmental qualities but also for the role trees play in beautifying the city and providing social and recreational opportunities,” said Mayor Jonathan X. Coté. “The Urban Forest Management Strategy was developed recognizing that our urban forest is a shared public resource in decline and requires a long-term plan to ensure that we are growing our urban forest for future generations.”
To reverse the decline in canopy coverage, a joint undertaking between local government, residents and businesses will be required to ensure that everyone plays a key role in caring for New Westminster’s urban forest for years to come.
“Council recognizes the importance and urgency of reaching our set targets, and we believe we can expedite this process through a proposed goal of planting 10,000 trees in 10 years,” said Mayor Coté. “While this is an ambitious target, with further work by Council and staff, I am confident it can be achieved.”
The Urban Forest Management Strategy also includes a new tree bylaw that protects and regulates the removal of trees on private and City-owned land. The introduction of the Tree Regulation and Protection Bylaw will help ensure New Westminster is in step with other Metro Vancouver municipalities and will assist the City in its goal of sustaining and increasing its urban forest.