Lots of green for Winnipeg’s canopy
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Winnipeggers will be able to see the forest — and the trees — thanks to a multimillion-dollar contribution from the federal government.
The city’s parks committee will hold a special meeting next week to approve the acceptance of up to $7.3 million from the federal government for the city’s urban forest renewal capital budget.
It’s anticipated the cash will result in the planting of 70,000 trees, especially in areas devastated by Dutch elm disease.
“This is going to be good news with the federal government coming in,” Coun. Sherri Rollins, the chairwoman of the committee, said on Friday.
“We know Winnipeggers love their trees and we are celebrating this,” Rollins said.
Last month, the city got word it could get federal money for its tree program as long as it agrees to cost-share the amount.
Because of the extra funding, the city is proposing to increase its current forest renewal program budget by $139,000 this year, followed by a $548,000 increase in 2023, about $2 million in 2024 and 2025, and $2.6 million in 2026.
The federal money, from Natural Resources Canada’s Two Billion Tree program, would match that funding annually. The program is available to municipalities, Indigenous organizations, and non-profit and for-profit organizations.
The federal government announced the program saying if two billion new trees could be planted over a decade it would help meet the government’s goal of significant carbon reduction.
The city is looking to plant the trees on boulevards, active transportation pathways, and in parks, native woodlands and riverbank forests.
It would also help fund a community-based program to give trees to organizations that can’t afford to plant them.
“We know we need much more money. We have a serious gap we want to close faster, but this will help,” Rollins said.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.