Jennifer Humphries is the co-chair of the Glebe Community Association’s Environment Committee and asked each of the candidates running for election in Capital Ward the following question: What is your (snapshot) view on the current state of the urban forest in Ottawa’s Capital Ward? Are we doing enough to plant, nurture and preserve trees in the ward, given the dual pressures of development and more prevalent dramatic weather events due to climate change?
The following was my response:
- The urban forest is part of what makes our community great. But much of our tree stock has been lost to years of development, which disregarded the importance of urban trees. The culture of how we build and enforce bylaw at the city has not caught up to the understanding that urban forests are extremely valuable…The city commits to planting two trees for every one removed, but our newly planted trees have poor success rates given the stress of road maintenance and recurring dry conditions. As climate change brings more drastic weather patterns, our efforts to replace the century-old stock will need to amplify and use new approaches.
- The urban forest is unfortunately not seen as a forest, but as a series of trees on public and private land that are in the way of other things that are given higher value. I, along with our community and environmental advocates, have pushed for a stronger tree protection bylaw (now under review)…The Urban Forest Management Plan has the tools to protect and grow our forest, but it will need to come not only with resources, but with a change of culture and understanding around the value of trees.
The answers of the others running for election in Capital Ward, can be found on page 6 of the September issue of the Glebe Report.