The City of Parksville has released results of the first phase of public engagement for its urban forest strategy.
The strategy, to be developed with Diamond Head Consulting, is meant to preserve acceptable canopy coverage and meet forest health targets. Parksville’s urban forest includes all trees, vegetation and soil spanning parks, streets, existing forests, agriculture lands and private property, according to the city.
The first round of community engagement involved an online survey, as well as sharing ideas and favourite urban forest locations on the Let’s Talk Parksville mapping tool.
Key survey findings include:
- 18 per cent of respondents live on streets with few or no trees — 41 per cent of respondents prefer streets with large-sized trees of mixed species and spacing;
- The three most important urban forest benefits for respondents are creating habitat for plants and animals, providing clean water and clean air;
- The most important considerations for street tree selection were to maximize benefits, tolerance to climate change and attractiveness to birds and pollinators;
- Respondents would like the city to prioritize planting trees in parks, streets and major arterial roads;
- Tree loss has affected survey respondents — 66 per cent have been affected and the majority (74 per cent) ranked that impact as severe;
- Most respondents attached an increased importance to trees and outdoor spaces during the pandemic (72 per cent);
- Results were mixed over current levels of service for urban forest management, expressing the most dissatisfaction with protecting trees during development (66 per cent dissatisfied);
- Most respondents indicated a willingness to contribute $25 and $100 per year per household to increase levels of satisfaction;
- Survey respondents are active urban forest stewards — 97 per cent participated in at least one urban forest stewardship activity in the last five years;
- The top reasons for submitting urban forest locations on the mapping tool were because participants appreciate the landscape and can experience nature in those places.
The city said it will share more results from the first phase of public engagement during phase two of engagement and during the draft strategy.