A long-term plan seen as a preventative measure against fire, fungus and freeloaders in Mundy Park was put into action on Monday.
Members of Coquitlam council got to weigh in on the "Mundy Park Forest Management Plan," a document meant to ensure the long-term health of the park by mitigating wildfire and pest risks, while at the same time monitoring the activities that currently go on in the 440acre park.
The plan consists of a multi-phased approach and begins in April, when a contractor will be brought on board to help initiate the process. From there, a community advisory group will be struck, and a final report is expected to be back before council in the fall.
"It's too late to go in after the fact and come up with a management plan for such an asset," said Lori MacKay, the city's manager of parks, recreation and culture.
"This is why staff are recommending that we take a proactive approach and build a management plan before we have any kind of significant incident happen in the forest."
According to Lanny Englund, Coquitlam's urban forestry manager, the city already has a handle on some aspects of managing the park: trail maintenance, invasive plant management and tree risk assessment is already taken into account.
With the new plan, however, other elements will be added like wildfire mitigation, pest management and a better understanding of which areas of the forest need enhancing.
"It's about the comprehensive picture that takes everything into account," Englund said.
Although everyone on council lent their support to the plan, some were concerned about how information around the plan goes out to the public.
Couns. Selina Robinson and Neal Nicholson suggested staff develop a comprehensive public education policy around what the plan entails to help keep unwarranted concerns at bay.
"Given the sensitivities around Mundy Park, I think one of the really important pieces is what [the plan] doesn't mean - it doesn't mean logging," Nicholson said.
The staff report presented Monday included the proposed make-up of the community advisory group, and included three recreational user groups, two local stewardship groups and one neighbourhood association.
That list wasn't enough for a handful of councillors, who wanted more representation from across the city.
Coun. Mae Reid, on the other hand, wondered about the level of damage caused in the park by off-leash dogs. She also requested representatives from the commercial dog walking community be involved in the feedback process.
"As this is a special place for us, I really think we should make this as comprehensive as we can," she said.