Working to preserve our tree canopy


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/06/2021 (725 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In 2021 I am redoubling my commitment to trees.

Trees have always been tone of the most important aspects of our city’s character. I’ve heard it said that Winnipeg was famously described as “the worst city in Canada to hang glide over” because the dense urban canopy blocked the necessary thermal updrafts.

It’s uncertain if we could make that boast today. Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer beetle have devastated our urban canopy. Trees are not only part of the character of our communities, they also provide shade, are beautiful to look at, support an urban ecosystem, and draw down carbon from the atmosphere; trees are essential in our struggle against cataclysmic climate change.

Supplied photo St. Boniface city councillor Matt Allard recently took part in a tree-planting at Elzear Goulet Park as part of the Million Tree Challenge.

I am doing what I can with my council colleagues and community to reverse the trend of Winnipeg losing more trees than it plants.

In May, I presented two motions to the Riel community committee:

First, I call for the city to study the effect of de-icing salt on trees and consider more environmentally friendly material for snow and ice control. It’s well understood that road sand and salt is a major reason why we have such problems replanting our historic boulevard trees when they are lost.

And second, I call for new standards for replanting along city-owned roads, paths and sidewalks, when construction involves removing trees.

I’ve also been pursuing a plan with growing interest from community members to plant trees on our own. In spite of the city having sharply increased its forestry budget in recent years, there remains a backlog of requests for tree planting.

Citizens have stepped forward to ask how they can help. As part of Mayor Bowman’s Million Tree Challenge, I took part in a tree planting at Elzear Goulet Park led by TelPay Solutions. That company, along with other advocates, individuals, and environmental groups have been eager to participate.

There are several locations in my ward where residents have asked for trees to be planted, such as in parks, under-used open spaces or on highway berms. I’m in active discussions with the experts in the urban forestry branch to get their advice on how to facilitate this.

Stay tuned.

Matt Allard

Matt Allard
St. Boniface ward report

Matt Allard is the city councillor for St. Boniface.

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