The City proactively undertakes tree hazard work in the Burke Mountain area. Coquitlam’s Burke Mountain area has seen considerable development in recent years and remains a heavily treed area with extensive parkland and creek corridor areas. The 2015 windstorms and drought conditions affected the dynamic, green spaces in Northeast Coquitlam.
In May 2016, City Council authorized staff to proceed with a comprehensive tree risk assessment (TRA) in Coquitlam’s northeast sector. The objective was to identify potential tree hazards in City-owned SPEAs and put forward solutions to stabilize the forested spaces in the Burke Mountain area.
The TRA conducted on Burke Mountain identified the need for substantial work in the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Areas (SPEAs) to ensure forest stands in these City-owned streamside corridors are windfirm and ecologically sustainable. The assessment identified a number of recommendations, including hazard tree removal, debris management, and replacement tree planting that will help restore these natural corridors over time.
The assessment covered 28 individual sections of the SPEAs. Fifteen of these were found to be generally windfirm (i.e. able to withstand strong winds) stands that only required the removal or modification of 122 trees. The remaining 13 SPEAs required significant work to establish them as windfirm forest stands and over 760 trees were either removed or modified.
Extreme winter weather conditions delayed much of the work, but wind firming treatments are now complete in all of the 28 SPEAs. SPEAs that require tree removals are located in East Smiling Creek between David Avenue and Burke Village Promenade.
As part of the final phase of this project, the City is currently planting around 1,000 trees in Northeast Coquitlam. This will ensure the forests regenerate and become stable and healthy forest stands over the long term. The replanting plan calls for trees to be spread over all of the sites with the work being completed in December 2017.
Once the planting is complete, a forest stand management program will be put in place to ensure current and future residents of Northeast Coquitlam enjoy a legacy of stable forests with high ecological value. Ongoing forest stand management will ensure undesirable tree species such as western hemlock and/or invasive plants will not compromise the stability and health of these SPEAs.