Even with the need for our collective focus to be on COVID-19, we know that climate change continues to be yet another crisis we must tackle together. While we hear about the impacts of climate change all over the world, many in River Heights-Fort Garry need not go any further than their boulevards to see it.

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This article was published 29/6/2021 (332 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Even with the need for our collective focus to be on COVID-19, we know that climate change continues to be yet another crisis we must tackle together. While we hear about the impacts of climate change all over the world, many in River Heights-Fort Garry need not go any further than their boulevards to see it.

Year after year, cottony ash psyllid, Dutch elm disease, or general mortality forces the City of Winnipeg urban forestry branch to remove hundreds of trees from our neighbourhood streets. The affect on our tree canopy is significant and while the branch works as quickly as possible to replant these trees, at the rate we must remove them it’s challenging to replace them in a timely way.

Because of this, and many other impacts, there has never been a more important time to invest in our environment.

With this in mind, I was proud to work to ensure a grant of $200,000 over the next two years from the land dedication reserve fund will be used to replace approximately 270 trees on boulevards in River Heights neighbourhoods of the River Heights-Fort Garry Ward in 2021 and 2022.

These replacements, in addition to those already planned by the urban forestry branch, include purchase of nursery stock and planting, watering and maintenance of the trees for two years.

Citywide, I have supported the protection and enhancement of our trees as a priority in the preliminary multi-year balanced budgets. The operating budget for tree planting, pruning and Dutch elm disease control from $11.8 million in 2019 to $12.5 million in 2023, an increase of 6 per cent.

The total capital investment in the urban forest enhancement program and the reforestation improvements over the next four years is budgeted to be over $25 million, an increase of almost $10 million or 60 per cent from the previous four-year capital investment in this area.
While civic funding is crucial, the only way we will keep up this momentum is if we continue to work together.

I have also been proud to see the efforts of organizations such as Trees Winnipeg and Telpay to provide trees for Winnipeggers to plant and care for in their communities throughout the city as part of the Million Tree Challenge.

This spring, Trees Winnipeg’s 2021 ReLeaf program sold out of nearly 1,000 trees in a record six days. Every year, Trees Winnipeg offers a spring and fall tree planting program available to private property owners (commercial, residential, etc.) in Winnipeg. If you missed out, stayed tuned for the fall event.

Also this month, Telpay and Manitoba 150 teamed up to giveaway 15,000 white spruce, mixed willow and prairie sky poplar tree saplings in support of Winnipeg’s Million Tree Challenge and to celebrate Manitoba’s 150th anniversary.

Together, these initiatives are moving us closer and closer to meeting the MTC mission of planting a million new trees in Winnipeg as our city’s population grows toward one million residents over the next 20 years.

I want to hear your thoughts about how we can continue to create opportunities to enhance and grow our tree canopy.

If you have your own idea for helping achieve the MTC, please reach out. Call me at 204-986-5236 or email jorlikow@winnipeg.ca

I look forward to hearing from you.

John Orlikow

John Orlikow
River Heights - Fort Garry ward report

John Orlikow is the city councillor for River Heights - Fort Garry.