An old oak tree was cut down near the skate park in Prince Rupert earlier this year. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

Resident argues for better protection of trees in Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert Arts Council denied funding increase in Nov. 26 council briefs

City council heard two presentations during the committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 26.

Request for tree protection

Prince Rupert resident Christine Malaka made a presentation where she requested that council consider creating specific protections for large trees in the city.

Malaka said that large, older trees have been cut down in the city, a fact she said was a shame considering the aesthetic value they bring to Prince Rupert. Malaka referred to a section of city’s quality of life community plan, which states that Prince Rupert is renowned for its “breathtaking beauty.”

“We’re in a temperate rainforest where trees can grow to amazing sizes,” Malaka said. “…they’re fabulous and don’t exist in other places.”

She mentioned other cities, such as Victoria, Nanaimo and Penticton, that have specific policies protecting their trees, and expressed hope that tree protection could pick up some traction in Prince Rupert.

Council thanked Malaka for her presentation.

READ MORE: Cutting down 25 trees costs B.C. man more than $80,000

Community Arts Council requests funding increase

The Prince Rupert Community Arts Council (PRCAC) requested an increase in the annual funding they receive from the city’s community enhancement fund.

In an eloquent presentation, Lester Centre manager Michael Gurney explained to council that the PRCAC has received $10,000 in grant assistance since 1996. Gurney requested that council consider increasing that amount to $20,000 moving forward.

“After two decades of doing more and more with the same dollars that buy less and less, an adjustment is finally in order,” Gurney said.

Gurney then spelled out the ways in which funding from the city helps to facilitate arts programs that enrich the life of Prince Rupert residents.

“Seen purely as an investment, the city’s contribution earns a healthy return because many of the programs I’ve just described,” Gurney said.

Council thanked Gurney for his comments after he finished his speech. Mayor Lee Brain said while the arguments were well articulated, council had already decided to hold the line on community grant allocations for 2019.

However, he informed Gurney and those in attendance that council was committed to reassessing how community grant funds are allocated in the future.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Brain said.

READ MORE: Michael Gurney to take over as Lester Centre manager



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