Halifax Diverse has been active in urban environmental stewardship for four years and we understand the importance of a healthy urban forest to thriving cities. With the upcoming municipal election (online now and at the polls on October 15), we wanted to find out if all candidates plan to be good urban forest stewards. We asked the same nine questions of all 56 municipal candidates and 26 replied (click here for the entire list).
Here are Scott Guthrie's (Candidate for Councillor, Timberlea - Beechville - Clayton Park - Wedgewood) answers to our questions.
Candidate's responses are in regular font, like this!
1. Why are trees important to you?
They are our primary source of life, providing O2, shelter, warmth, clean air, beauty, comfort, materials, food... They are what makes life possible for us and every other living creature on this earth.
2. Can you relate a fond memory of trees or a tree in particular?
As a youth I had a very special place I would go when things seemed unmanageable, during those darkest times many experience when we question life, seek understanding, celebrate the good things or just need to ponder. I called it my thinking tree. A duplex not sits where my thinking tree once stood but it is still with me in memory.
3. Why are trees important in HRM and your district in particular?
They build a sense of warmth, and community. Filtering out sounds and pollution. The right tress and green-space in a community builds community and often become gathering places.
HRM's Urban Forest Master Plan
The HRM UFMP is a council endorsed plan co-written by HRM staff and members of Dalhousie University's School for Resource and Environmental Studies. This award winning document provides guidance for the management of HRM's urban forest into the future using a novel neighbourhood system developed specifically for the UFMP that divides the sewer and water serviced areas of HRM into 111 neighbourhoods. It can be found digitally at: http://www.halifax.ca/property/UFMP/documents/SecondEditionHRMUFMP.pdf
4. Which UFMP neighbourhoods does your district occupy (if applicable)?
6.1.7 Fairview/Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea (BLT)
The following are priorities of the UFMP implementation strategy, as described in the UFMP, and are to be implemented within the initial 5-year timeframe:
a. Increase funding, plant more trees on HRM land and improve urban forest maintenance.
b. Adopt new regulations and standards to conserve urban forest canopy cover.
c. Promote citizen urban forest stewardship and develop educational programs.
5. As we approach the end of the 5-year initial time-frame in 2017, do you believe these priorities have been adequately addressed? Where is there room for the most significant improvement?
Not yet. Lots of room for improvement. Bayers Lake, Beechville, Ragged Lake, Mount Royal.
6. What do you believe is the greatest threat to the HRM urban forest? In your district specifically?
Not having proper green space planning to include trees in development. After the development has completed and replant of trees in greenspace should be considered, as part of the development.
7. What role do you suggest citizens play in supporting a healthy urban forest?
Stop littering our environment that takes away from beautification initiatives. Ensure hazardous waste that kills off our urban forests are disposed of properly.
8. How will you promote and contribute to a healthy urban forest as councilor?
Encourage the continued planting of trees in key areas.
9. What changes would you like to see to your district’s urban forest in the next 10 years?
Trees that feed.
Thank you to Scott Guthrie and all the other candidates who took the time to answer our questionnaire. We hope that our new municipal government will continue to improve urban forest stewardship in HRM to protect a vital natural resource that cannot be taken for granted. Voters are encouraged to challenge their candidates' stance on this and other environmental issues to ensure our municipal government strives for environmental sustainability. Anyone interested in learning more about the Urban Forest Master Plan can learn more from the document, found here, or the UFMP page, found here.
Please join Halifax Diverse on facebook for environmental programming, news, and more.