Good news: the city of Courtenay has released its new tree bylaw and the public opinion survey is now online at www.courtenay.ca/trees. The survey takes about 10 minutes. Please help ensure that as many people as possible complete the survey before the deadline, June 30. Results will be used by city staff and council to finalize the bylaw.
This survey is our opportunity to demand real protection for Courtenay’s remaining forested areas from sprawl and development – while sending the city the baseline data it needs to see that most residents value trees, enjoy the many benefits of green infrastructure, and expect immediate action to protect and grow trees.
The proposed tree bylaw has received input from the development and conservation communities – now we must weigh in. The new bylaw is an improvement but there are also weaknesses we must address in our feedback. The biggest improvement is that the bylaw proposes to now cover all trees, not just certain areas within the city.
But as it currently stands, the proposed bylaw fails to protect trees on “greenfield” or undeveloped natural lots. We need to stand up for better greenfield protection. These sites can support hundreds of trees and contain much of what’s left of Courtenay’s urban forest, including our maturing second growth forests, which sequester the most carbon, provide the most green services and support the most biodiversity. The current drawbacks of the new tree bylaw:
• Allows loss of up to 1/3 (30%) of Courtenay’s remaining urban forest if re-zoned
• Favours developers who want to convert large parcels of forested lands
Background info is available with the survey on the city’s webpage. Hard copies of the survey are also available at City Hall. Respondents can win a prize (slow-release tree watering bag for summer) if you submit contact info with your survey.
The city of Courtenay will hold another public open house June 21, 12 -2pm at Courtenay Public Library.