Urban Forest Questions for HRM Candidates – District 4 Candidate Lorelei Nicoll

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 Lorelei Nicoll’s (Candidate for Councillor, Cole Harbour – Westphal) answers to our questions.Candidate’s responses are in regular font, like this!1.         Why are trees important to you?Air purification, shade, beautification and important to ecosystem/wildlife.2.         Can you relate a fond memory of trees or a tree in particular?As a child, I spent many hours on a swing hanging from a large tree in my front yard watching ‘life’ in the neighbourhood.3.         Why are trees important in HRM and your district in particular?District 4 – Cole Harbour Westphal was all farmland prior to development in the early 1970’s.  There was a lot of open fields and when developed, many properties were without tree plantings and/or clear cutted.  District 4 was identified in the HRM Urban Forestry Master Plan as an area in need of increasing its tree canopy.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)?Cole Harbour generally but in particular Colby Village and Inishowen 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?Replacement of dead trees, pruning and general maintenance need improvement.  Many residents have not ‘adopted’ caring for these trees planted in the HRM Right-of-wayLooking Forward6.         What do you believe is the greatest threat to the HRM urban forest? In your district specifically?Uncontrolled loss of trees from development both in urban areas and suburban areas.  Urban areas where buildings are massed in size without green space setbacks and in suburban areas with lot clearing.7.         What role do you suggest citizens play in supporting a healthy urban forest?Appreciate the role trees have on our lives and take care of them…get to know trees and the caring of trees8.         How will you promote and contribute to a healthy urban forest as councilor?For one example, I participated with Clean NS and TD Bank today for a tree planting in Bissett Lake Park. 120 trees were planted mostly to secure the bank of Beck’s Brook from erosion.  I have contributed District Capital to trees in the past and am open to do so again.  Also, planted trees with David Foster in the Baker Drive area a few years ago :)9.         What changes would you like to see to your district’s urban forest in the next 10 years?Have as many tree lined streets as possible.  The harshest element on asphalt/concrete is the sun.  Shade could prolong asphalt’s life.  Hope to see those performing snow clearing activities take care/respect the trees in the right-of-way and paths.–Thank you to Lorelei Nicoll 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.