August 2, 2022
Shone Announces Comprehensive Plan to Protect and Enhance Winnipeg’s Tree Canopy
Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, Manitoba –
Mayoral Candidate Rick Shone commits to protecting and enhancing Winnipeg’s tree canopy as part of a broader livability strategy, making Winnipeg a greener and more climate resilient city.
“Our tree canopy is the envy of the most Western Canadian cities,” said Shone in a press release earlier today. “In addition to their beauty, our tree canopy plays an important role in fighting climate change, sequestering carbon, diverting water run-off and cooling our city in summer months.”
Shone added that “we need to provide the resources to our Urban Forestry staff so that they can assure the maintenance, protection, growth and prosperity of our tree canopy that all Winnipeggers cherish.”
Resources from the city have not kept pace with pressures created by disease management, urban development, tree removal, maintenance, and replanting.
Today, Winnipeg has 14,000 fewer public trees than in 2015. With a significant stock of Ash and Elm trees, it is predicted that Winnipeg will see a significant decline in its tree stock if more action is not taken now.
Shone’s plan would commit the city to:
• Support the ongoing development of the Urban Forestry Strategy.
• Speed up the replacement of trees on public property, attaining at least a 1:1 replacement ratio within 4 years with the final goal of a 2:1 replacement ratio.
• Prune public trees on a 7-year cycle.
• Annually allocate at least $200 000 from the Mayor’s Office Budget to tree planting initiatives.
• Work with the community, businesses, Indigenous peoples, Trees Winnipeg, and Tree Canada to significantly increase plantings through the Million Tree Challenge Program, particularly in higher needs areas.
• Work with other levels of government to support and increase tree planting in Winnipeg.
• Sign the “Tree Please” pledge.
- Support the development of a tree protection bylaw to: o Increase the number of trees planted and protecting existing trees when new homes are constructed.
- Require enforced protection of large trees located on public and private property.
- Require an improved and enforceable Tree Protection Plan for all development or construction activities near public trees.
“We have so much to be proud of,” said Shone. “It’s about more than fighting Dutch Elm Disease or combatting the Emerald Ash Borer, it’s about the long-term health, beauty and safety of our city. Trees benefit infrastructure, they provide safety benefits by slowing down traffic, and there are economic benefits such as increasing property values and preventing soil erosion as well as mitigating healthcare costs.”
• There are an estimated 3,075,000 trees in Winnipeg’s urban forest, with around 300 000 on boulevards and in parks. The entire urban forest has a compensatory value of around $3.31 billion.
• Winnipeg’s urban forest annually diverts 160 000 cubic meters of runoff from the storm system. The urban forest is also estimated to remove 274.2 tonnes of pollutants per year from the air.
• Of the approximately 300 000 trees on public property, around 58% are Elm or Ash. These tree species are under serious threat from disease and pests, like Dutch Elm Disease and Emerald Ash Borer. Canopy decline is expected to increase, as these factors severely impact the tree stock.
• In 2020, only 19% of public trees cut down were re-planted. 14,500 public trees have not been replaced, and the backlog is growing at a rate of approximately 2,000 trees per year.