• Water Treatment Plant Photo Update - January 29, 2015

    by Ross Collicutt | Jan 29, 2015

    The latest photos from the Water Treatment Plant project.

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    See the project page for background documents on the Water Treatment Plant.

    Follow the project on the Facebook Photo Album.

  • Picture a Park: Oliver Woods

    by Ross Collicutt | Jan 28, 2015

    Surrounded by native plants and a Douglas-fir forest, Oliver Woods Park has many amenities and activities for all ages and interests.

    Outside, take in the beauty of nature with a walk along the interpretive trails.

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    Spend some time viewing wildlife at the duck pond.

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    Work out while enjoying the fresh air in the outdoor wellness park.

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    Let the kids burn some energy in the playground. 

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    Inside the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified Community Centre, find a place to decompress near the public art installation in the lobby. Another public art installation can be found in the playground.

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    Join in one of the many drop-in sports like volleyball and floor hockey in the gym.

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    Take a fitness or yoga class in one of the multi-purpose rooms. Did you know? These rooms are also available for public rentals by calling 250-756-5200.

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    There are a variety of programs for all ages and abilities available at Oliver Woods Community Centre including preschool, youth and adult programs that range from pre-school crafts to Pro-D Day Camps and fencing to painting. 

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    Looking for a park? Try the Nanaimo Parks Search on the City website.

  • Stay Up to Date on Council Meetings

    by Ross Collicutt | Jan 26, 2015

    Did you know? There are various opportunities for residents to stay up to date with what’s happening at the City of Nanaimo. The City website (www.nanaimo.ca) has many applications to take advantage of plus a personalized subscription service that anyone can utilize. The Nanaimo Dashboard allows you to subscribe to numerous notices and updates throughout the website. 

    NanaimoDashboard

    With a new Nanaimo City Council, it only seems fitting to mention that you can receive notices of upcoming Council and Committee of the Whole meetings and whenever a Council agenda is posted on the website.

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    All you have to do is click on the "subscribe to email updates" link and either sign up for an account on the City website or your facebook, twitter, google account or yahoo account.

  • Nanaimo Recycles

    by Ross Collicutt | Jan 22, 2015

    Do you recycle? 

    If so, we want to hear from you for a new awareness campaign we are launching. 

    We want to know what your personal reasons are for recycling. What is it that drives you to recycle something as opposed to just throwing it in the trash? 

    There are no right or wrong answers here. Your reasons can be as simple (or complex) as you like. Some of your answers may be used as part our new recycling campaign. We’d love to hear from you!

    If you would like to participate you can Tweet or Facebook your response using #NanaimoRecycles or contact Public Works at 250-758-5222 or public.worksinfo@nanaimo.ca.

    NanaimoRecycles

    Did you know? You can receive email notifications of upcoming curbside collection days for your home by subscribing to the Garbage Calendar!

  • ACTIVE LIFE New Year Time for Fitness Goals

    by Ross Collicutt | Jan 20, 2015

    ACTIVE LIFE is a monthly series in the Nanaimo News Bulletin contributed by City of Nanaimo Staff.

    Happy new year – we hope you all had a fun and safe holiday season.

    Now that 2015 is here, perhaps you, like me, have set some health and fitness goals.

    Here are reasons to get or keep fit:

    You’ll be happier: Love it or hate it, making regular exercise a habit is good for our mental well-being.

    Although happiness is a pretty subjective concept, researchers have concluded that one huge predictor of personal happiness is physical health.

    The ability to ward off sickness and disease, maintain a hormonal balance and manage stress all contribute to self-satisfaction.

    That’s one reason why people who work out might be happier.

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    You’ll be healthier: Besides the obvious decrease in instances of heart disease and diabetes among regular exercisers, fitness increases the production of antibodies that destroy unwelcome invaders like bacteria and viruses.

    People who stay physically active are generally better equipped to combat sickness and stress – key components to overall health.

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    You’ll be more productive: When you exercise, you are increasing blood flow to the brain which can help sharpen your awareness and make you more ready to tackle your next big project.

    Exercise can also give you more energy. Having more energy means you will feel more awake and able to get more accomplished.

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    There are a number of programs and amenities available at Parks, Recreation and Environment to get and keep you healthy, from registered fitness programs to drop-in opportunities at the pools, arenas, gymnasiums and weight rooms.

    Take a look at what is available and incorporate fitness into your daily life. It doesn’t take much – as little as 30 minutes a day – but the benefits will stay with you your entire life.

    I can testify how fitness has benefited my life – both physically and emotionally, and I know it can do the same for you.

    For more information on fitness options, visit our website at www.nanaimo.ca or call us at 250-756-5200.

    This year, let’s follow the mantra: Commit to be fit.

    Looking for a drop-in activity? Check out Public Schedules on the City website.

    Looking for a Park in Nanaimo? Use thE&Nbsp;Nanaimo Parks Search on the City website.

  • Owls in Nanaimo

    by Ross Collicutt | Jan 16, 2015

    Nanaimo is home to many wild critters. Owls are one such creature that can be found in the city. From large owls like the Great Horned to the very small like the Northern Saw-whet, a variety of this fascinating species of birds can be found here.

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    Common Barn Owl Photo by Allison Miller

    The Barn Owl is the most widely distributed owl in the world but is considered a Species at Risk in British Columbia. This is due to habitat loss to urbanization. Barn Owls are known by their white, heart-shaped face, dark eyes and long legs. Barn owls can live up to 17 years and pairs mate for life. Listen to a Barn Owl.

    Did you know? Barn owls are part of the “Tytonidae” family and fossilized remains of this family of owls have been found in France dating back around 20 million years. 

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    Barred Owls are recent visitors to Vancouver Island having first being spotted in the 1960’s but have since become the most common owl on the island. Chances are if you hear an owl it is a Barred. They also have a loud and distinct call, or hoot. Barred owls are mainly solitary birds and rarely gather except for mating pairs. They are very adaptable to many habitat conditions but prefer forested areas close to an open water source or field. They can live up to 23 years. Listen to a Barred Owl.

    Did you know? Their hearing is so good they can hear a mouse squeak from 46m (150ft) away.

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    The Great Horned Owl is named for the feather tufts that resemble horns on its head. This storied bird can be found as a character in many popular books. It may not be the largest owl in the world but with a wingspan of 1 to 1.5 m (3.3 to 4.8 ft) and a body length of 46 to 63 cm (18 to 24.8 in), the Great Horned owl is definitely in the top five. A powerful predator, it can even take down birds and mammals larger than itself. Great Horned owls prefer to dwell in semi-open habitat. They can live up to 29 years. Listen to a Great Horned Owl.

    Did you know? The talons of a Great Horned Owl are really strong. They can grip up to 500 psi – that’s five times the grip of a man! 

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    From one of the largest to one of the smallest, the North Pygmy Owl may be tiny but it packs a mighty punch, so to speak. These pint-sized hunters measure 16 to 18 cm (7 to 8 in) in length with a wingspan of 38cm (18in). They perch in trees to hunt for small birds. Listen to a Northern Pygmy Owl.

    Did you know? They may not be much larger than a House Sparrow but the Northern Pygmy Owl can take prey up to three times their own size.

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    Northern Saw-whet Photo by Brendan Lally

    Continuing the trend of tiny owls is the Northern Saw-whet Owl. This adorable little owl measures 18 to 21 cm (7 to 8 in) in length with a wingspan of 42 to 48 cm (16.5 to 18.9 in). It is one of the few North American owl species that migrate seasonally. They are cavity nesters utilizing natural cavities and ones made by woodpeckers. Listen to a Northern Saw-whet Owl.

    Did you know? Martin from the "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" novel series is a northern saw-whet owl.


  • Shoreline Enhancements in Neck Point Park

    by Ross Collicutt | Jan 13, 2015

    Neck Point Park is one of Nanaimo's many natural gems. With it's rocky bluffs, scenic Garry Oak groves and stunning vistas, there is no wonder this is a premier destination for locals and tourists alike. On a very beautiful December day, the shoreline at Indian Beach in Neck Point Park was made even more picturesque when City crews conducted a foreshore restoration project that included planting a variety of native species. The purpose of this restoration project was to stop some erosion and enhance the natural shoreline environment. 

    Thanks to a grant from TD Bank, the following species of plants were planted:

    • 50 Dunegrass (Elymus mollis)
    • 45 Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor)
    • 40 Red Flowering Current (Ribes sanguineum)
    • 50 Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana)

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    Looking for a park to explore in Nanaimo? Check out the Parks Search App.

  • Commit to Get Fit!

    by Ross Collicutt | Jan 05, 2015

    Happy New Year! At the beginning of January we tend to think about the accomplishments we made in the year that has just passed and make resolutions for the year ahead of us. The top resolution we tend to make is to improve our well-being by being more active.

    The benefits of being active are plenty and include reduced stress and illness, gained confidence, and increased memory and feeling of happiness. Especially in the cold, dark winter months we could all use a boost in levels of that happy-producing hormone, serotonin, which has been linked with regular excercise.

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    Whether you are looking for an intense workout or a walk in the woods, Nanaimo has many amenities to help you get active. Fitness, yoga and dance classes are available in our facilities; our pools, arenas and gyms have scheduled drop-in times and activities; and our parks and trails offer free, outdoor opportunities to be active.

    Try the Fitness Sampler Pass and gain access to 12 drop-in fitness and 5 drop-in yoga classes at various locations across Nanaimo. Find more information in our Activity Guide.

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    Or, get a workout in the fresh air at the Oliver Woods Wellness Park.

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    Whichever way you choose in 2015 make a resolution to “Commit to Get Fit.” 


  • Water Treatment Plant Photo Update - December 23, 2014

    by Ross Collicutt | Dec 24, 2014

    The latest photos from the Water Treatment Plant project.

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    Follow the project on the Facebook Photo Album.

  • Water Treatment Plant Photo Update - December 2, 2014

    by Ross Collicutt | Dec 02, 2014

    The latest photos from the Water Treatment Plant project.

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    Follow the project on the Facebook Photo Album.

  • Winter Break Activities for All Ages

    by Ross Collicutt | Dec 01, 2014

    With December in full swing, we begin to look forward to such things as spending time with family and friends, ice sports and braving the crowds to find the perfect gift. As we draw near the official holiday season and some well deserved time off, the City of Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Environment department has plenty of Winter Break activities and day camps to keep you and your kids busy.

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    Along with Winter Break day camps, the City is hosting Winter Wonderland, a five day skating event where Frank Crane Arena in Beban Park will be transformed into a Winter Carnival theme. Activities during Winter Wonderland include loonie skates (as well as some sponsored free skates), a pancake breakfast, caroling, ice carving, sno cones, toffee on a stick and daily raffle prizes.

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    On New Year's Eve, take the family to Beban Park for Finale 2014. This fun celebration features a tropical theme along with live entertainment, swimming, skating, face painting, crafts and food vendors. 

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    Finally, on Saturday, January 3 bring your super heros to Beban Park Pool for some Super Hero Fun from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm.

    Are you looking for a unique gift? How about giving the gift of health and fitness this year with a City of Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Environment gift card. It can be used at any of the City's recreation facilities for swimming, skating, drop in activities, or any fitness or leisure class in the Activity Guide (class sizes are limited). And, if you purchase a $20 or more gift card by December 24, you can be entered to win a $50 gift card! 

  • Italian Fountain Improvements

    by Ross Collicutt | Nov 24, 2014

    Recently, the Italian Fountain underwent some repairs as part of a phased improvement plan.

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    Repairs included moving the access point workers used for pump and electrical maintenance. The old access point was a small cubby that went under the fountain. It was so small that it was extremely difficult for any adult to get into.

    The pumps were relocated to create easier and safer access for workers, a new electrical box was installed with updated wiring and leaks in the main tank were repaired.

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    As well, the curved wall at the bottom of the water spillway had structural repairs done and a new specialty finish applied to the inside face.

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  • Water Treatment Plant Photo Update - October 28, 2013

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    by Ross Collicutt | Oct 28, 2013

    The latest photos from the Water Treatment Plant project.

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    See more updates from the Water Treatment Plant

    See the project page for background documents on the Water Treatment Plant

    Follow the project on the Facebook Photo Album.

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  • Water Treatment Plant Update - October 18, 2013

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    by Ross Collicutt | Oct 23, 2013

    The latest photos from the Water Treatment Plant project.

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    See more updates from the Water Treatment Plant

    See the project page for background documents on the Water Treatment Plant

    Follow the project on the Facebook Photo Album.

  • A Lesson in Community

    Quest Team - 1
    by Ross Collicutt | Oct 01, 2013

    Quest Team - 1

    Recently one of the senior managers within the Parks, Recreation and Culture team posed the question, ‘what’s our why?’ It is a simple question on the surface but it really got us thinking.  It has quickly become our team mantra. We keep it in mind as we develop and review program proposals. It is what we consider when we align ourselves with other community groups and foster existing relationships. For a lot of us the ‘why’ of what we do comes back to being a part of a community and our want to contribute to it.

    I grew up in a remote island town and, not that I understood it at the time, community was everything.  People helped each other regardless of what they were doing; it was just how things got done. I have vivid memories of teams of people of all ages working (and laughing) alongside in kitchens and backyards. The same was true whenever a the local playground needed some work or the community wharf needed repair, people just showed up and got things done. People shared ideas, tools, food and even shelter if need be. This is what shaped my understanding of what community should be.

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    I believe that if we share with youth what it means to be a part of a community it will foster a sense of confidence. To me this is what is so wonderful about our Leaders in Training and Quest programs, providing youth with an opportunity to feel a part of their community. They learn that we each have talents and strengths that if shared flourish. They learn that it is okay to ask for help and what if feels like to help others. Through working together during these programs they learn that in a group setting sometimes you have to give to get. These are lessons that will prepare a person to be able to face anything life throws at them.

    Looking at the number of volunteer hours (11,000+) it sounds like this summer’s LIT/Quest teams could teach a lot of us what it means to be a part of a community. For more information about LIT/Quest and other programs please visit www.nanaimo.ca or pick up the latest Activity Guide.

  • Lifeguard Training at Westwood Lake

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    by Ross Collicutt | Jun 24, 2013
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    The sky outside may be gray and wet, but according to the calendar summer has officially started.  While most people are out buying a new bathing suit or getting their beach bodies ready, City of Nanaimo lifeguards are getting prepared too.  During the week of June 21-26 the waterfront lifeguard training camp will be taking place at Westwood Lake as the City Aquatics Department gets ready to open Westwood Lake 1st Beach on July 2nd.

    Training for the waterfront location involves very specialized rescue techniques.  Heading up this year’s training team is Kathy Gonzales, Aquatic Coordinator, as well as senior lifeguards Wesley Hankins and Alli Cheng.  The training team will guide lifeguards through a series of challenging rescue and fitness standards, including:

    • 100 meter Run/Swim/Tow (a victim)
    • Deep water rescue techniques
    • Spinal injury rescue techniques
    • Rescue board challenges
    • Underwater searches
    • General rescue scenarios

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    Want to see for self what it takes to be a waterfront lifeguard?

    Join us at 1st Beach on June 26th from 11:00am – 3:00pm.  You will be amazed as you watch lifeguards respond to a variety of rescue situations and physical standards.  

    Remember be safe in the water: choose a lifeguarded beach or pool, learn to swim, never swim alone and keep children within reach at all times.  Lifeguards will be on patrol at Westwood Lake daily from 12:00pm - 6:00pm between Victoria Day to Labour Day weekends.  

  • Nanaimo's Best Swimming Spots

    nacpool
    by Ross Collicutt | Jun 10, 2013

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    Summer is coming. Soon you will be heading to your favourite location to cool off and have fun.   Nanaimo is fortunate to have so many options just minutes away to beat the summer heat. Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, Beban Pool, Kin Pool (the outdoor pool), waterparks, or one of many lakes or beaches are all great options to keep in mind if you’re looking for somewhere to cool off.

    My personal favourite is Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.  Here’s why: NAC is our largest pool facility that offers early morning and late evening hours. For those visiting Nanaimo, it’s located on the south end of town just off the Parkway.  There’s a cafe, full gym, swim store, and two water slides.  Thanks to the wave pool and two slides, the pool often boasts more visitors than any of the other pools or beaches.  There’s also a kids’ area with a boat that squirts jets and a lazy river.  Come early and hit up the weight room for an extra calorie burning session.

    A close second is Westwood Lake located just off the Parkway and Jingle Pot Road.  Westwood Lake is a beachfront beauty and the only beach in Nanaimo patrolled by lifeguards starting July 2nd, 7 days a week from 12pm-6pm.  It’s easy to make a day of it by adding a hike or bike around the park and barbequing nearby.

    In central Nanaimo, you can swim outdoors at the Kin Pool: a heated, outdoor pool in Bowen Park just off Bowen Road. This pool is operated by the White Rapids Nanaimo Swim Club. It’s heated, which you’ll appreciate in the spring to summer transition.

    Beban Pool, located at Beban Park, is your best bet for young kids and seniors.  In addition to the slide and lazy river, the pool also offers a kid-operated pirate ship, a chest deep pool for aquatic fitness classes, lane swimming or just relax in the hot tub or steam room.

    The summer is never complete without visiting at least two of the four water parks.  Water parks open in early June, 9am–8pm.  Be sure to check out the newly renovated Kinsmen Departure Bay Kinsmen Water Park featuring all kinds of new spray equipment.

    No matter where you choose to cool off this summer, make sure to lather you and your kids up with sun screen, wear a hat and keep your children within arm’s reach if you’re in or near water. 

    Want to learn more about Nanaimo pools, programs and summer fun?  Visit our website www.nanaimo.ca or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

  • All Trees Eventually Fail

    by Ross Collicutt | May 13, 2013

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    All trees eventually fail. They become old, they sustain injury, and they lose their ability to defend against disease and decay. Usually the tree will fall, or it will be removed in order to mitigate potential risk to humans or property. 

    This appeared to be the fate awaiting a unique but ageing ornamental cherry tree on the corner of Anchor Way and Front Street. There were fruiting fungal bodies indicating decay in the stem and large stress cracks in the crown caused by the heavy burden of large meandering limbs.  It was unlikely that this tree would make it through another season and the order was made to have it removed.

    Normally this would have been the correct protocol; however it seemed in this case that the loss of this tree in city landscape would be an unfortunate loss indeed. Any replacement tree would fall well short of providing the character of its predecessor. This is why we decided to save it!

    There are many ways to provide structural support for trees of significant value in order to extend their life in the landscape. In all cases they must be custom tailored to the needs of the particular tree. This is what we did to extend the life of this one of a kind specimen.

    The tree was extensively pruned, all dead wood was removed and some of the weight burden on each limb was lessened. The limbs needing support were determined, and city carpenter Ed Trembley custom built five beautiful cedar crutches. The trees limbs were jacked up and the crutches were cemented into place in order to handle the weight burden.

    The result is an attractive addition to the garden which will hopefully extend the life of this great tree for years to come.

  • Invasive Plant Awareness Month: Get Involved, Have Some Fun!

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    by Ross Collicutt | May 03, 2013

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    There are some great opportunities to get involved in our community in a fun, and helpful way. One way to do this by participating in planned work parties to remove invasive species or organize your own neighbourhood work party. Work Parties offer a way to come together to help remove invasive plants, restore natural ecosystems and contribute in and around where you live, participating at your own speed and energy level.

    Most Work Parties have been scheduled for 2 hours, morning and afternoons throughout the month of May. City staff have scoped out locations around Nanaimo that have a large amount of invasive plants. Species like English Ivy, Himilayan Blackberry, Scotch Broom, Daphne and Holly are the usual suspects.

    Pulling invasive plants in our local parks is an easy and fun way to get some exercise in the great outdoors, meet up with neighbours and make a difference in the health of our parks. It’s fun. You will chat, and get to know each other every time you meet. It’s also a great way to get some exercise- You’ll be finding a few muscles calling out the next day. Most importantly, it makes a big difference in maintaining the health of the park.

    To help get rid of Invasive Plants by joining a work party or organizing your own visit our Invasive Plant Section on www.nanaimo.ca.  You will also find a calendar of events, drop off zones, and more information about invasive plants in Nanaimo. When needed proper equipment is provided by the City of Nanaimo at scheduled work parties. Remember to dress for the weather, bring some thick gloves, and, of course, your smile. You are likely to meet new friends.

     

  • Nanaimo Trees: Can Evergreens have Leaves?

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    by Ross Collicutt | Apr 25, 2013

    EvergreenTreesHere’s a fun fact. Did you know that not all evergreen trees are conifers and not all deciduous trees are broad leafed trees?

    When we think of evergreen trees, especially here on Vancouver Island, we generally think of needled trees such as Douglas fir, Grand fir, pines and cedars. Did you know that there are quite a few different genuses of needled trees that are deciduous?

    Although none of these are native to Vancouver Island, they can be grown here. Two genus of note are Larix (Larch) and Metasequoia (Dawn redwood). We have the latter growing at the Chinese Memorial Garden on Stewart Avenue and had Larix at Maffeo Sutton Park prior to the major renovations. That being said, I have seen them in other areas of Nanaimo.

    A third genus of deciduous conifer is Taxodium distichum (Baldcypress), but this is essentially a southern species. In its native habitat, bald cypress grows in swamps and other wet areas and can withstand prolonged flooding. It is being used in the eastern United States, in places such as Michigan. As the tree is rated for USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 10, it could be grown here, but I haven’t seen any.

    When it comes to broadleaved evergreens, there are several species of broadleaved trees that are evergreen. One species, Arbutus menziesii is native to Vancouver Island. Other ones that grow here are Rhododendron, Quercus ilex (Holly oak), palms and in some instances eucalyptus. The latter grows best near the tempering effects of the ocean, but even then, if we have extended periods of cold weather plus desiccating winds, eucalyptus will not survive.

    There is also one other broad-leafed evergreen that should be mentioned that thrives here. Ilex aquifolium (English holly), which was introduced more than a century ago, is on our invasive species list. Holly displaces native species. The berries act as a food source for birds that disperse the seeds with their droppings.

    Learn more about these troublesome species in our Invasive Plants Section. Watch for events happening throughout the month of May during Invasive Plant Awareness Month.

    **

    Alan Kemp is the Urban Forestry Coordinator and has been in that position since September of 2006. Prior to that he was the Horticulture Foreman for the City Parks Department. Alan has worked full time for the City since 1986, but originally started with the City in 1976. Alan graduated from UBC in 1980 and also has a diploma in Horticulture from the University of Guelph.

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