Riverview boulevards green again with new trees


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This article was published 07/05/2021 (693 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A map showing black dots detailing where diseased trees have been removed in Riverview really brought home the loss to the neighbourhood, according to an organization dedicated to making their streets green again.

The Trees Riverview committee recently co-ordinated the planting of 55 disease-resistant trees on the boulevards on Arnold Avenue and Baltimore Road as a start to regrowing the much-loved green canopy.

Trees Riverview co-chairs May Wady and Wendy Botkin started the ball rolling in the summer of 2020, adding fellow residents Lin Watt as the project manager, Pam Lawrence as treasurer and Carol Thiessen as communications manager.

The committee spent many an hour walking dogs, touring the streets and counting all the tree stumps, and making plans, Wady said.

“It was devastating to see how many were gone,” she said.

“This is so exciting to see the new trees in the ground,” Botkin said during a recent visit by some committee members to the young saplings planted along the boulevard on Arnold Avenue. “I feel like I’ve adopted all the trees.”

The committee applied for grants to cover the cost of the trees and two years’ worth of maintenance and watering services. It recently received $14,441 from the City of Winnipeg’s land dedication reserve fund from Coun. Sherri Rollins’s (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) ward allocation for 30 of the trees and then $12,500 from the Assiniboine Credit Union for the remaining 25 trees.

“Our goal is to preserve the tree canopy in Riverview,” Wady said. “To get to this point, we’ve handed out brochures to the neighbourhood, and held a meeting at the Riverview Community Centre. Two Riverview residents, Jeff Palmer and Matthew Lawrence, with some support from others, worked last summer on the map that showed us just how many trees were lost. There are streets where every single tree was cut down.”

The committee toured other neighbourhoods that had successfully applied for city grants to replant trees, learning how to navigate the paperwork required and what the city required for the newly-planted trees.

“The city’s urban forestry branch is the best friend a community could want in this matter,” Botnick said. “They were so helpful.”

Rollins said she was pleased to support the community’s efforts to restore the boulevard trees. “I love it when people are so community-minded,” she said. “Once we passed the funding at community committee, it got them in line for further funding.”

Riverview Community Centre president Dennis Cunningham is the manager of environmental sustainability at Assiniboine Credit Union. He alerted the committee to funds available for just such projects.

The species of trees planted were chosen for resistance to disease and insects, such as Dutch elm disease, emerald ash borers and chestnut borers, which have been killing American elms, ash trees and oak trees, respectively.

The newly planted trees include Delta and Chicagoland hackberries, Triumph elms, hawthorns, Navigator pears, and three types of lindens: Dropmore, Boulevard and Big Leaf.

Botkin said the pear — which flowers, but doesn’t bear fruit — was chosen for its low height, and will not block views to the street. “When the trees were planted, people came out of their houses, excited to find out what types of trees were going in front,” she said. “The urban forestry branch helped us pick out a variety which will increase the biodiversity of the trees.”

One of Wady’s neighbours, who is an urban beekeeper, told her biodiversity is very important for bees. “He said it’s great because these trees don’t all flower at the same time, so we’ve added something that will encourage beneficial insects,” she said.

The next project for the committee is to oversee wrapping trees along the riverbank at the end of Baltimore.

“We’re seeing a lot of damage by beavers done to those trees,” Rollins said, adding she’s heard from volunteers from other neighbourhoods, including Wildwood Park, that are ready to work on protecting the trees.

For more, see riverviewcc.ca/tree-planting-grant/

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