Maintaining a Healthy Landscape Despite Being a Growing Metro Vancouver City

Cruise Ship at Canada Place, Vancouver

Burnaby is one of the leaders in protecting the city’s natural beauty and sustainable planning.  Mountains, parks, lakes and trails surround our growing city.  In conjunction with this, Burnaby city planning is focused on ensuring the future protection of it’s neighbourhoods.  For example, the Urban Forest initiative in Burnaby protects significant trees on both private and public lands and ‘ensures adequate amount of replacement trees to enhance the urban forest.’   The City of Burnaby works with Home owners, Companies who offer Strata Landscaping and Local Industry to keep our Urban Forest

Landscaped Garden
Image source: Commercial Landscaping

thriving and healthy.  If someone wants to make impactful changes to in their yard, for example, removing trees, the city of Burnaby will inspect the impact of the removal and assess whether it will move forward.  If it has been deemed acceptable to be removed sufficient replacement trees are often planted.  In addition to this, the metro Vancouver city has strict guidelines on new construction to protect streams, rivers, soil removal and soil deposits.  New developments must abide by the Environmental Policies and Regulations which ensure that the health of the environment is not hurt and that they comply with municipal standards.  Despite any city’s best efforts to preserve and protect it’s environment growing pains are bound to occur.  Our aim is to highlight a few of the positives, debatably negative changes coming to the city from an environmental stand point, and the downright ugly events which have occurred inside Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

The Good:

Burnaby is recognized as an environmental leader in many regards.  The city has implemented a number of initiatives to protect watersheds, acquire sensitive eco system areas, and forest enhancement projects.  When major institutional, commercial, industrial and residential projects are adjacent to sensitive ecological areas the construction is closely monitored and reviewed by the city to ensure there will be no negative impact to the surrounding area.  The preservation of these sensitive landscapes is a part of the important task of ensuring our cities can continue to grow synergistically along with our environment.  Burnaby’s Environmental Policies and Regulations help to map out the concepts in which restoration and improvement of suffering ecosystems can be improved.

In addition to playing an active role in the preservation of the landscape in the city of Burnaby through conservation methods and regulation the city of Burnaby is blessed with a plethora of beautiful natural features.  Burnaby Mountain hosts a wide array of hiking and biking trails surrounded in lush forest and a maze of creeks.  This area is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast looking for an escape from the sprawling city.  If the thought of visiting Metro Town on a weekend sends shivers down your spine because of the crowds and hustle and bustle, the city has several lakes, perfect for a casual stroll.  Deer Lake Park is a prime example of the dichotomy that is Burnaby.  Among many things, Deer Lake Park is home to a number of concerts throughout the year.  Contrarily, it is also home to a large community garden which is known for it’s Rhododendron display (Burnaby’s official flower)

 The Bad:

Burnaby is a rapidly growing city, because of this the amounts of green space is going to take a hit.  Burnaby does it’s best to preserve forest, creeks, parks lakes and ecologically sensitive areas; however, it is unavoidable to lose pockets of undeveloped naturally occurring greenery.  These spaces often habitats for the city dwelling animals and birds and are key for a healthy environment.

Canada recently approved the Kinder Morgan Pipeline to run through Burnaby.  It will receive crude oil and refined products.  The merits of an oil pipeline are widely debated, we are still dependent on fossil fuels and pipelines are a relatively safe method of transport compared to rail or trucking.  That being said, as most countries begin to work towards reducing their dependency on fossil fuels is now the time to be ramping up production and potentially impacting the environment?  In addition to increasing tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet there is the likely damage to sensitive ecological areas the city works so hard to protect.  The project is one which is putting economic agendas ahead of ecological ones, what we will discover in the future is whether or not mortgaging the environment will be worthwhile.  Although there are clearly negative impacts on the environment there is often a balance of sustainability development and preservation which needs to be met.  The safety and environmental standards for this project are very strict however sometimes that’s not enough.

The Ugly:

3 companies have recently plead guilty to the big Burnaby oil spill which occurred in 2007.  Two hired contractors and Trans Mountain Pipeline.  A fine was paid and a contribution to Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.  One of the contractors was working on a sewage line when the pipeline was damaged.  This resulted in 250, 000 liters of crude oil to be leaked into the Burrard Inlet, costing $15 Million to attempt to clean up.  Despite their best efforts the effects of oil spills can effect an eco-system for decades.  When an oil-spill occurs best efforts are always made to clean them up, yet even an immediate response is not enough to full protect the marine ecology.

Burnaby makes many efforts to preserve and encourage a healthy, sustainable environment yet despite this the city continues to lose precious greenery.  With the approval of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline and increased tanker traffic odds have increased that we will witness future environment issues further hurting Metro Vancouver’s ecological health.  Profit almost always outweighs environmental endeavors only the future will show whether it was worth it.