Rooting for more tree replanting
Councillor seeks study of replacement rules after trees removed for roadwork, effect of winter salt
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/05/2021 (679 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
After you build it, replace the trees.
That’s a requirement Coun. Matt Allard hopes can soon be applied in Winnipeg. In a new motion, he calls for the city to study new standards for replanting along city-owned roads, paths and sidewalks, when construction involves removing trees.
“When we’re reconstructing a road and the reconstruction… does not consider the impact on trees, then I think we have a problem if we care about our tree canopy,” said Allard, council’s public works chairman. “We could start using the roads budget as part of the project costs of road reconstruction. We would know that there would be a certain amount of trees related to that road reconstruction.”
The motion also seeks feedback on adding trees downtown, which the councillor said could require planters and other supports that help trees grow where they otherwise couldn’t.
In a second motion, Allard calls on the city to study the effect of de-icing salt on trees and consider more environmentally friendly material for snow and ice control.
“There are some trees immediately adjacent to the roadway and they’re getting sprayed by salt… Some of them may be having a slow death because of multiple exposures to the salt every year,” said Allard.
Allard said he’s heard plenty of community concerns that many trees on Provencher Boulevard, for example, have been damaged by ice control products.
The councillor said his focus on the canopy reflects feedback from Winnipeggers, noting he recently received more than 100 comments on a social media post he shared about tree planting.
An advocacy group that lobbies governments to do more to maintain and protect the urban forest welcomed the new proposals.
“The trees are such a valuable asset and… the idea that this should be a responsibility in any road construction project is awesome. But it’s just as important to try to preserve them, rather than just replace them,” said Emma Durand-Wood, a volunteer with the Trees Please Winnipeg Coalition. “Those mature trees that we could lose… deliver so many concrete benefits. It’s better if we can just prevent them from being lost in the first place.”
She noted new, smaller trees can’t absorb as much carbon from the atmosphere, provide as much shade or suck up as much runoff water as mature ones.
“If you even can get something to grow there, it (could) take 40, 50 years to get to the same point where it’s delivering the same benefits to the city as the previous tree did,” she said.
Durand-Wood said she agrees snow-clearing efforts should also be done in a way that protects “green infrastructure” as much as possible.
Both of Allard’s motions will be considered at the Riel community committee on May 25.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.