Vancouver, B.C. – ABC Park Board Commissioners hit a new low for governance Monday night with a poorly planned motion to plant 100,000 trees in Vancouver.
“I ran for Park Board because I am committed to developing healthy, resilient tree canopies throughout all neighborhoods in Vancouver. However this motion demonstrates no insight into the challenges facing urban trees, nor does it provide any money or staff resources to achieve this arbitrary objective” explained Tom Digby, Green Party of Vancouver Park Board Commissioner. "ABC has just put the opportunity for 100,000 new trees at risk with this careless motion," continued Digby.
A recent pre-print of a paper by UBC scientists determined there was zero chance of success for increasing tree canopy from 7% in a typical East Vancouver neighbourhood to 30% (current city-wide goal) over 30 years due to the combined effects of densification, municipal regulation, and climate change.
“We need an indigenous-informed, science-based and aesthetically ambitious plan not just for planting new trees but for sustaining existing trees.” said Digby. “Public support needs to be built for this ambitious project which will require planting and sustaining on both private and public land. Street and sidewalk requirements will need to be adjusted. Politicians need to recognize that urban canopy results are measured in decades not in election cycles.”
A severe infestation of Hemlock Looper moth has led to the sudden death of hundreds of mature Western Hemlock in Stanley Park. The motion passed on Monday night trivializes the problem by directing staff to “work with MST [Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh] to plant thousands of trees in Stanley Park” without any consultation on the scope of the project with local First Nations.
ABC Commissioners forced the motion through, over the objections of Digby, in a meeting that allowed no public comment.
“Every month we are losing trees due to climate change which has brought unpredictable winds, precipitation, and drought. Hundreds of stumps in parks and along streets testify to the recent changes in the Vancouver climate. ABC cannot just wish that away” exclaimed Digby.
Photo by Stanislav Ferrao