Parksville council voted to create an urban forest strategy (UFS) to guide the planting and managing of trees on public and private land.
“Development, installation of utilities, invasive species, tree diseases, aging forest and climate change are all creating a challenging environment to grow healthy trees,” said Guy Martin, manager of parks and facilities.
The decision means the parks department will get $80,000 to contract a company to create a strategy. Of that, $50,000 was reallocated from a wetland study and $30,000 was added to the department’s 2021 budget.
The parks department will spend about a month drafting a request for proposal (RFP) and choosing a candidate to create the strategy. Martin said the process could be complete in under a year and will include two open houses to allow feedback from the public.
“I think it’s a proactive way to manage our city,” said Coun. Marilyn Wilson.
Council also voted to provide the department $50,000 a year to deal with a large number of dead and dying Western Red Cedar trees. Martin said the parks department was spending a large part of its budget dealing with the trees.
“Basically, there is no proactive tree pruning program of street or park trees,” he said.
Martin added the increasing number of winter storms hitting the area means it is important to manage the urban forest to reduce the chances of damage or injury from fallen tree limbs.