Urban Forest Questions for HRM Candidates – District 2 Candidate David Hendsbee

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 David Hendsbee’s (Candidate for Councillor, Preston – Chezzetcook – Eastern Shore) answers to our questions.Candidate’s responses are in regular font, like this!1.         Why are trees important to you?Provide shade from the sun and refreshes oxygen and water vapor into our air2.         Can you relate a fond memory of trees or a tree in particular?As a kid I used to Climb high trees to look out over the neighbourhood 3.         Why are trees important in HRM and your district in particular?Being a rural district it is already heavily treed. It preserves natural habitat for wildlife and a supplies a renewable resource for lumber, firewood, pulp, etc. 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)?I’m outside of those neighbourhoods.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?I would hope for more citizen stewardship. We need to have More fruit and nut bearing trees for community orchards / gardens. This will also help to foster urban bee keeping. Looking Forward6.         What do you believe is the greatest threat to the HRM urban forest? In your district specifically?Wildfire and infestation.7.         What role do you suggest citizens play in supporting a healthy urban forest?To be active watchers of the trees in their immediate area… Whether they are damaged or diseased. We need to ensure they stay healthy. 8.         How will you promote and contribute to a healthy urban forest as councilor?Provide expert advice on pruning and cultivating trees on private land. 9.         What changes would you like to see to your district’s urban forest in the next 10 years?I prefer to see utilities services such as waterlines, powerlines and streetlights to be on one side of the street and larger trees on the opposite side. Too many of our mature trees get chopped and disfigured due to obstructions with these utility services.–Thank you to David Hendsbee 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.