VANCOUVER, B.C. – With help from grassroots Green support, Commissioner Tom Digby secured a major milestone at Park Board this month. His motion to update the city's plan for mitigating the forest fire risk in Stanley Park passed unanimously.
Digby credits the pressure applied by ordinary Vancouverites: “Together we brought focus to an issue that even my reluctant commissioner colleagues could not deny. Our campaign effectively combined media and social media tools with street action and online activism.”
Climate change has fueled an unprecedented forest fire season in British Columbia and across Canada. Since April, massive fires have choked the continent in suffocating smoke. The current Stanley Park Forest Management Plan has not been updated since 2009. As the forest in Stanley Park enters its dry season, many are anxious that it could be the next forest to burn.
The 2009 plan accurately predicted that the Hemlock Looper moth was a threat to forest canopy. This risk materialized in 2020-2023, killing most of the Western Hemlock and leaving an estimated 20% of the mature forest as standing dead trees.
Digby’s motion notes that climate change, erratic weather, and extended drought periods are now routinely experienced in Vancouver and that previous plans did not directly incorporate indigenous perspectives on wildfire risk in Stanley Park.
City staff have been directed to report back with an updated risk mitigation plan, which is expected this year.
Digby is the sole Green at Park Board. Emphasizing collaborative politics, Digby achieved a remarkable unanimous vote in this case.
Photo by Craig Nagy - Lost Lagoon, (Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 2.0
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