Urban Forest Questions for HRM Candidates – District 11 Candidate Stephen Adams

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 Stephen Adams’ (Candidate for Councillor, Spryfield – Sambro Loop – Prospect Road) answers to our questions.Candidate’s responses are in regular font, like this!1.         Why are trees important to you?They produce oxygen, provide shade and add beauty to our communities. 2.         Can you relate a fond memory of trees or a tree in particular?When I was in Grade 3, I won a tree in a poetry contest.  It is now about 35 feet tall.3.         Why are trees important in HRM and your district in particular?Most of District 11 has tree cover, and are protected by either HRM or the province.  They add to the attractiveness of our communities. HRM’s Urban Forest Master PlanThe 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.pdf4.         Which UFMP neighbourhoods does your district occupy (if applicable)?SpryfieldThe 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?Although we have protected more trees, the time to get new trees planted (or existing trees replaced) is too long.  In fact, some replacements may take up to 2 years.Looking Forward6.         What do you believe is the greatest threat to the HRM urban forest? In your district specifically?Development involving clear-cutting is the biggest threat.  We have been able to curb some of these threats.  The pending acquisition of the Purcell’s Cove Backlands is a good example.7.         What role do you suggest citizens play in supporting a healthy urban forest?Citizens can help identify areas that they consider unique or important, such as was done with the Backlands.8.         How will you promote and contribute to a healthy urban forest as councilor?Where feasible, we could encourage development so as to maximize tree retention.9.         What changes would you like to see to your district’s urban forest in the next 10 years?I would like to see an expedited process to replace existing trees and provide more along our streets.  –Thank you to Stephen Adams 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.