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This article was published 8/3/2018 (1420 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Recent home buyers or sellers will soon say they can see the forest for the fees — commission fees, that is — they pay to real estate agents.
Carly Kuppers, an agent with Royal LePage Alliance, has planted the idea to create the Nature’s Real Estate program, with a goal of planting trees in the province for every sale of a home.
Kuppers said it isn’t just a single tree for every house sold, but a small forest. She’ll pay for the trees herself from the money she makes from her commissions.
"I’m going back a couple of years and counting the square footage of every house I’ve sold and adding it up," Kuppers said on Wednesday.
"For very house under 1,000 square feet, we’ll plant 20 trees. For houses between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet, there will be 30 trees, for 1,500 to 2,000, there will be 40 trees, and for 2,000 square feet and over, there will be 50 trees."
Kuppers said there will be mass plantings in both spring and fall and already — for the first one — she’s looking at planting up to 600 trees.
"I’ll be contacting my clients and they will be invited to come out and participate," she said.
"Regardless of whether they participate, each will get a certificate telling them how they contributed. So it would say ‘123 Main St. was able to plant 50 trees.’
"It will be really cool. And for families with young children it will be a great learning experience."
Kuppers said she thought of the idea as a way of helping do her part for climate change.
"The environment is often forgotten," she said.
"You see realtors give donations to the Children’s Hospital and to pet shelters — and that’s wonderful — but no one makes any donations to our environment. Now we can."
Patricia Pohrebniuk, executive director of the Manitoba Forestry Association, said the plantings will be done on a mix of public and private land and will be put in places for different purposes.
Pohrebniuk said the first planting will be at an as-yet-undisclosed location just outside Winnipeg.
She said it will be made up of white spruce trees, the province’s provincial tree.
"It can be planted in full sunlight and in a variety of different soils," she said.
"For this spring, it will be around 500 trees, and we hope to plant 650 to 700 trees in the fall. We will work with municipalities and they will be planted on both private and public land. They could be part of a shelter belt, it could be part of a wildlife rehabilitation project, or enhancement or reclamation projects. It could be enhancing a trail or a green space."
Pohrebniuk said trees have numerous benefits, including producing oxygen, improving air quality, minimizing soil erosion, serving a critical habitat and an important food source for birds and wildlife, and helping mitigate climate change.
"Trees are real workhorses," she said.
Kuppers said just from word of mouth, she already has four to five other realtors ready to participate — and she is hoping not just other realtors help, but others who are in real estate-related industries, including lawyers and mortgage lenders.
"Who knows? Maybe the home builders and renovation companies will also get on board," she 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.