By Councillor Wilson Lo
Early-April’s hot weather notwithstanding, the surest sign spring is here is the leaves budding on trees across our community.
Each autumn, the city’s forestry services (under Public Works) plans out locations and species of trees to plant across the city next year, including those in parks, commemorative trees, and trees in trust on private properties.
Trees in city parks are straightforward. City forestry crews plant and maintain them. Berry Glen (20 trees) and Ken Ross (11 trees) parks will have thirty-one trees of various native species planted this year.
Residents who wish to plant a tree in memoriam, usually at a park, can request a commemorative tree. In consultation with forestry staff, the resident chooses a location and species, and the planting occurs next season.
The resident has the option of including a plaque beside the tree. Commemorative trees are $400 without a plaque, $900 with a plaque. There will be one planted at Stonecrest Park this year.
Lastly, trees in trust are trees planted by the city free of charge on private property with street frontage, like a front or side yard. The resident pledges to maintain the tree for the first three years of its life. Through this programme the city will plant 29 trees in our community this year.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority also plants trees across the Rideau River watershed, which includes large areas of our city, focusing on large empty fields that are longstanding or newly vacant. The RVCA will be planting its seven millionth tree later this year!
We need this more than ever. Our city’s trees can’t catch a break.
Since the late-1990s (at least that’s how far back my memory goes), event after event, whether it’s pests or weather, we lose trees every year despite policies and efforts to continuously protect and expand our tree cover.
Aside from municipal programmes and through the RVCA, I plan to engage other community and non-profit partners to increase the number of trees in our community.
Trees are not only good for the environment, but they also provide valuable shade for people, protect soil from erosion, improve our quality of life, and just look good. Once mature, roadside trees also contribute to traffic calming and drainage!
Our community has large areas that will benefit from increased tree cover, including along our major avenues like Fallowfield and Woodroffe.
Let’s start a journey to becoming Ottawa’s leafiest (or needle-iest, for evergreens) suburb!
Feature photo: Gentle Ways for Our Planet was joined by volunteers from the Lebanese-Canadian community and various church groups to plant 125 trees at Neil Nesbitt Park in October. Barrhaven Independent file photo by Charlie Senack