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 Adam Bowes' (Candidate for Councillor, Dartmouth Centre) answers to our questions.
Candidate's responses are in regular font, like this!
1. Why are trees important to you?
Trees are a connection to nature and to our past and they give our neighbourhoods character. I live in an older part of Dartmouth and my tiny house is dwarfed by two massive trees. The leaves sounds beautiful in the wind..and the massive amount of raking has to be good for my health, right?
2. Can you relate a fond memory of trees or a tree in particular?
Growing up on Livingstone St. in Halifax, the trees produced bunches of little orange berries -we called them 'dog berries'. When they showed up in the fall, my brother and I would pick handfuls to throw at each other on the walk to school.
3. Why are trees important in HRM and your district in particular?
In addition to all the reasons listed in the Urban Forest Master Plan, I can't stop thinking about the excited Facebook post by my neighbour, Crystal, on Windmill Rd when she saw new trees being planted on the median by her house. People have a connection with trees, they are calming and beautiful.
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)?
My district (District 5 - Dartmouth Centre) is comprised of the following UFMP neighbourhoods: Dartmouth Central, Albro Lake, Crichton Park, Harbourview, Park Avenue, Austenville, Downtown Dartmouth, Hawthorne, Silver's Hill, Lakefront, Graham's Corner, Manor Park, Southdale / North Woodside, Woodside Industrial Park
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?
Well, I am proof that we can do more to educate our residents. Reading through the UFMP and filling out this survey has been eye opening. I had honestly never heard of the Sierra Club or thought much about the reality of our urban forest.
6. What do you believe is the greatest threat to the HRM urban forest? In your district specifically?
As I write this, my district is under unprecedented water restrictions - a reminder that the climate is changing. I worried about the effects of climate change on our urban forest. I am also worried about the effect of development on our trees as Dartmouth looks to be headed towards a development boom.
7. What role do you suggest citizens play in supporting a healthy urban forest?
We need our citizens to be aware of the urban forest and feel a sense of ownership of the trees in our community. We need to champion the cause and talk to our neighbours about the many benefits of planting and maintaining our urban trees.
8. How will you promote and contribute to a healthy urban forest as councilor?
I will work to make room in the budget for new trees, maintenance and education and I will become an advocate for our trees!
9. What changes would you like to see to your district’s urban forest in the next 10 years?
More edible trees and more public engagement and education.
Thank you to Adam Bowes 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.
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