Our urban forest is a natural asset that provides immense benefits to the community. It will become even more important as the impacts of climate change increase.
Urban Forestry Planning has been identified in the Town’s Five-Year Financial Plan as a three-year project.
One of the first steps in Gibsons’ Urban Forestry management is the development of a Tree Preservation bylaw. This initiative is underway, with the proposed bylaw receiving first and second reading on July 7, 2020.
An Urban Forest is defined in the bylaw as “the trees, forests, greenspace and related abiotic, biotic and cultural components located within the Town”. This means that Gibsons’ Urban Forest encompasses every tree within Town boundaries, not just the larger tracts of forest such as White Tower Park, Charman Lands, Gospel Rock conservation area and the Gibsons Creek Ravine.
An overarching “Urban Forest Plan” will act as the asset management plan for this natural asset. Accordingly, it will:
- Provide a complete tree inventory, which will determine the percentage of tree canopy in the Town and enable Council to establish a target tree density;
- Develop a Tree Management Plan to enhance work efficiency;
- Provide a guiding document, which will change our response to tree-related issues from a reactive position to a proactive position;
- Help quantify benefits of our natural assets, including trees and forests, and address the role that trees play in a natural asset system;
- Provide data to inform establishing a municipal Urban Forest; and
- Improve community relations.