Natural Areas and Habitat

The city’s natural areas are of enormous value as they provide a wide range of important benefits for both human and ecosystem health. Not only do these natural spaces benefit wildlife and protect biodiversity, but they also improve the livability of our city and provide valuable ecological services.
 
Like a lot of urban areas, New Westminster experienced severe loss of its historic more natural environment as industry and urban development moved into this space. However, the city’s few key natural areas that remain along river shorelines or within larger parks, such as Hume Park or Glenbrook Ravine, are treasured by the community. Through innovative planning and deliberate action we can help to increase the amount and quality of natural habitat in the City to protect biodiversity.
 
Taking action to protect our natural environment is also an important step in our response to climate change.
  • The term biological diversity or “biodiversity” describes the variety of life found in an ecosystem or habitat. When many forms of life have the habitat and resources they need to survive, this often coincides with an increase in biodiversity.
     
    Biodiversity provides us with clean air, fresh water, good quality soil and crop pollination. It helps us fight climate change and adapt to it as well. According to a UN report in 2019, biodiversity is declining at a unprecedented rate. This loss is a direct result of human activity. It is not too late to reverse this trend but taking significant action is needed from local to world-wide scales.
     
    The development of a Biodiversity and Natural Areas Strategy is a priority action from the City’s 2018 Environment Strategy and Action Plan  and the City’s first key step to outline a variety of actions that can be taken to halt further biodiversity loss.
     

    PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

    The City engaged members of the public to discuss biodiversity and natural areas at a public information session held online on September 16th, 2020. Fifteen members of the public participated in the information session. Members of the public also had the opportunity to highlight important places for biodiversity on an interactive online map. A total of 19 important locations were submitted by the public through the online map.

    View the presentation.

    Several themes emerged from these engagement events. Many participants highlighted the importance of natural and semi-natural areas found in the City’s parks to support biodiversity and the broader benefits they provide to residents. The importance of enhancing other areas in the city on public and private land to increase habitat was also discussed.

    Ideas to enhance biodiversity range from planting more grassy areas with diverse shrubs and plants that support habitat for wildlife and pollinators, to providing more continuous habitat connections between green spaces across the city. Participants also indicated great interest in seeing the community more involved in initiatives to restore natural areas. Findings from the public engagement will be summarized in the Biodiversity and Natural Areas Strategy.

    Next Steps

    • Review draft of Biodiversity Strategy with Environment & Climate Action Committee (May 2021)
    • Consultation with First Nations on draft strategy (Early 2021)
    • Bring draft strategy to City Council (2021)

     

    Please feel to contact  should you have any questions.

     

  • Glenbrook Ravine Park has been identified as one of the city’s key natural areas and is considered important in terms of its ecological significance and contribution to biodiversity. It is
    cherished by the local community as one of relatively few intact natural areas in the city. Over
    the years it has become heavily occupied by invasive plant species which jeopardize the future
    health and function of the native vegetation community as well as the enjoyment and safety of park users.
     
    Through dedicated stewardship efforts of community volunteers since 2017, invasive species (e.g., blackberry, English ivy) have been removed and native plant species have been reestablished.
     
    Restoration events are held from spring to fall. Events are open to all, so please come and join
     
    Check out the Glenbrook Ravine Park Invasive Plant Management Plan which provides a framework to guide invasive plant management and restoration activities from now and into the future.