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Port Moody wants to speed up the protection of its trees

Is the city moving fast enough to protect its trees?
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Port Moody is beginning the process of creating a management strategy for its urban forest.

Port Moody is looking to accelerate its efforts to save the city’s trees.

Tuesday, council will consider a plan to roll its creation of a new tree protection bylaw into the city’s development of an urban forest management strategy.

Previously, staff hadn’t planned to begin consulting the public on a new bylaw until the management strategy was in place.

The change means enhanced protections for trees could be implemented by the middle of 2023, said Port Moody’s manager of policy planning, Mary De Paoli, in a report.

At a recent meeting, in which Coun. Amy Lubik proposed the accelerated timeline, she emphasized the urgency to protect the city’s trees.

“It’s such an important part of our climate action plan,” she said. “It’s critical for keeping our community safe in these extreme climate events.”

Lubik and Coun. Meghan Lahti proposed more rigorous rules for protecting trees more than two years ago.

Among their recommendations were:

  • creating specific definitions of significant trees that relate to size and species
  • defining specimen and heritage trees
  • expanding protections to trees on private property
  • developing guidelines for replacement tree, including their size, their quantity and that replacement trees are a species that is resilient to climate change

Lahti said it’s frustrating nothing has happened since.

City manager Tim Savoie said he empathized, but initially staff had been given direction to prioritize the urban forest strategy so it could provide a framework for the new bylaw.

But according to De Paoli’s report, a meeting with the city’s urban forest management consultant determined the two projects could occur concurrently.

The change will cost an additional $9,000 — on top of the $30,000 budget previously approved for the bylaw update.

Most of the extra expense is to cover the cost of more staff support.