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Courtenay Urban Forest Strategy seeking public input

Online survey ongoing, open house May 2

If you haven’t yet provided feedback to the City of Courtenay on urban forests in the community, it’s not too late.

One year after beginning a comprehensive exploration and community consultation into Courtenay’s urban forest, the draft plan is now available for public feedback. This week begins the 30-day public consultation period which includes options to have your say through a short survey, a public open house or through written feedback to City staff.

View the draft plan and take the survey online at until Thursday, May 23. Hard copies of the survey are available at City Hall, Lewis Centre and Florence Filberg Centre. A public open house will take place Thursday, May 2 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Florence Filberg Centre Evergreen Lounge with a short presentation at 6 p.m.

An urban forest strategy is a planning tool that identifies opportunities and challenges for trees and forest stands on public and private land. Including voices from the community, the document has been written for a wide range of audiences.

Some finding highlights from the plan include:

- The current canopy cover is 33 per cent of the Courtenay’s total land area of 3,370ha, as of 2018. Within the urban areas it is 25 per cent.

- Generally speaking, rural zoned lands just within the City’s boundaries support a disproportionate amount of the urban forest.

- Five per cent of the total canopy cover is on public land.

- If all properties within the city were to remove trees down to the City’s Tree Bylaw tree density target the community wide canopy cover would drop to 15 per cent.

- There are 5,200 estimated planting opportunities on public land and 40,000 planting opportunities on private land.

Nancy Gothard, policy planner, outlines key considerations of the Urban Forest Strategy.

“As we anticipate forest losses due to development and climate change, the plan outlines options to protect the most critical parts of the urban forest, and begin a dedicated planting program process to redistribute trees to areas that could use more.”

Through the consultation methods outlined, the public has the opportunity to vote on what canopy cover target to adopt, indicate their support for the vision statement, and provide any general feedback on the plan prior to the plan being presented to Council for adoption.

The public is also invited to share photos of Courtenay’s urban forest to a crowd-sourced “story map.” One photo will be chosen from all submissions for the cover of the Urban Forest Plan; the winner will also receive a $200 gift certificate to a local nursery. Access the interactive crowd-sourced online map at, or submit your photo by email to

For more information on the Urban Forest Strategy visit or contact Nancy Gothard at 250-334-4441, email