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Feb 06, 2019 Return to Headlines

Coquitlam Aims to Strengthen Management of Streamside Protection and Enhancement Areas

by Michelle Frilund |

COQUITLAM, BC, Feb. 6, 2019 – In an effort to improve public safety, as well as the overall management of Streamside Protection and Enhancement Areas (SPEAs), Coquitlam is exploring a new approach to tree management.

The new approach, which would apply citywide, will ​involve transferring SPEA lands, neighbouring windfirm areas (i.e. trees able to withstand strong wind that protect the SPEA), and trail corridors (if applicable) to the City as part of the rezoning process. 

Stronger City Management of SPEAs
Recent severe weather events involving hazardous trees falling have highlighted the need to review the City’s approach to tree management in SPEAs. By transferring ownership of the SPEAs to the City, it ensures that strong SPEA management work is applied – especially in the the first five years after development when management needs are the highest due to newly exposed forest edges. 

This work includes tree inventories and assessments, hazardous tree mitigation, tree replanting, and invasive species management. The cost of the work would be offset by a voluntary financial contribution, to be provided by the developer.

Permanent fencing and signage would be installed by the developer at the boundary of the SPEA and windfirm areas and a covenanted Root Protection Buffer would be established to ensure protection of the trees. 

New Responsibilities for Developers
Under this new approach, developers would still be responsible for tree management requirements under the Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR), a provincial regulation. However, development applications involving both a Rezoning and a Watrcourse Protection Development Permit would also have to submit: 

  • A windfirm assessment, to assess the forest stability of the SPEA and identify if an adjacent windfirm area is needed to improve the stability of the SPEA; and
  • A five-year management plan and contribution estimate (to cover the cost of the five-year plan).

Next Steps in SPEA Improvements
The proposed approach uses science-based recommendations to improve public safety. However, in order to implement the approach, the City will need to make amendments to the Citywide Official Community Plan (CWOCP), the Zoning Bylaw, and adoption of a City Policy and Procedure to apply  the current Watercourse Protection Development Permit Area citywide and outline new processes to better address forest management.

Individuals who may have comments or concerns regarding these proposed changes can visit www.coquitlam.ca/spea to learn more or submit comments in writing by Feb. 24, 2019 to clerks@coquitlam.ca.

Questions can also be directed to Planning and Development by emailing planninganddevelopment@coquitlam.ca, calling 604-927-3430, or in person at 3000 Guildford Way, Coquitlam.

Media contact:
Chris McBeath
Senior Planner
604-927-3436
cmcbeath@coquitlam.ca

 

Media Inquiries

Manager, Corporate Communications - Kathleen Vincent
Phone: 604-927-3019
Cell: 604-218-1319
Email: media@coquitlam.ca