City Parks director Thomas Soulierre and managers Leigh Campbell and Brooke Stark made a
presentation to the Board in November, 2015. They discussed their current priorities, the Parks Master Plan, and the Urban Gardening Guidelines. Other issues discussed with the Board at that meeting included the effectiveness of the current Tree Preservation Bylaw, the acquisition of parkland within the neighbourhood, the control of noxious weeds, and the off-leash area at Dallas Road. As a follow-up to this, I met with them on May 16th to further discuss these topics, our Committee’s Terms of Reference, Local Area Planning (LAP), and the Rockland Greenway Signage project.
Greater Victoria Open Spaces Master Plan:
The department’s current focus is on the Parks Master Plan, and Parks staff disseminated information and engaged residents through 2016. Neighbourhood representatives subsequently attended focus group and open house events. The Master Plan will focus the Parks Department resources and serve to guide aspects of the LAP process.
Terms of Reference:
Terms of Reference for the Environment Committee were drafted, circulated for comment, revised, and approved by the RNA board in April and presented to Parks Staff in May. Copy available on request; email Environment Committee
Local Area Planning:
Parks managers will set up a meeting between themselves, Rockland Neighbourhood representatives and City Planning staff to explore the upcoming LAP process for Rockland, and how it will consider and address both the City’s and the neighbourhood’s environmental objectives.
The current Tree Preservation Bylaw has a mechanism (not currently used) that could identify individual “significant” trees and give them special consideration. This approach could encourage voluntary protection on private property through revival of the Heritage Tree Program.
All trees on public land are documented and viewable on the City’s VicMap application. Outside of continuous replacement of decadent and damaged trees, there is little opportunity for new canopy on public boulevards. Enhancement of the forest canopy will largely come from Parks and Private land. City arborist, Brooke Daitl, worked with private land owners to identify opportunities to retain and/or enhance existing trees.
Revision of the Tree Preservation Bylaw may include a review of compensation levels and tree replacement ratios. Given that replacement trees may have a greater positive impact if planted in a different location from the site of a tree removal, I suggested that some property owners might self-identify as a receiving location for a required replacement tree.
Rockland Greenway Signage Project:
The RNA, in conjunction with our “Cultural Precinct” partners and Heritage organizations, was successful in obtaining a grant to develop signage along the Rockland Greenway to draw pedestrians and cyclists from downtown to The Art Gallery, Craigdarroch Castle, Government House and Langham Court Theatre. We are working with City staff and the “Visual Victoria” initiative that will identify points of interest (the “Public Realm”) and develop signage specifications (“Wayfinding”). Project team members have contributed to “Visual Victoria” through participation in focus groups and open houses.