Town of Oakville Mayor Announces Enhanced Support for Tree Planting

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Town of Oakville Mayor Announces Enhanced Support for Tree Planting

On October 23rd, during the State of the Town speech to Council and the public, Mayor Rob Burton announced several new commitments to protect Oakville’s green infrastructure and support tree planting in Oakville.

Mayor Burton noted, “staff are finalizing the details of a new town initiative to be called PLANT – Please Let’s Add New Trees.” Burton further stated that PLANT will “encourage individuals, community groups, and corporations to plant trees on their properties and on town property every year” and will support both the town’s existing tree planting work and Oakvillegreen’s new Backyard Tree Planting Program. Mayor Burton suggested that by taking up the challenge to plant a million trees over the next 40 years, Oakville residents would be taking more than 3.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gas out of the air, and we would also be securing a greener and more livable future.

At Oakvillegreen Conservation Association we are very pleased by the Mayor’s commitment to developing a tree planting and stewardship action plan, and see this as a positive step forward for our urban forest. We look forward to the commitment being operationalized to reflect the real scope of the work needed to increase Oakville’s tree canopy from the current 27.8% to our canopy cover target of 40% by 2057 set in 2008. We will continue to work with the Town of Oakville and other community partners, including the Oakville Horticultural Society, to ensure that the good intentions of this announcement are carried out.

Oakville’s first municipal Urban Forest Strategic Management Plan, as well as the North Oakville Urban Forest Strategic Management Plan, and Oakville’s 2016 i-Tree canopy cover reassessment study provide over 30 strategic recommendations directly related to tree planting and also a wealth of urban forest inventory data.

This extensive data and previous tree planting and stewardship recommendations highlight several critical considerations for Oakville’s tree planting approach:

  1. the greatest opportunities for expanding tree cover in Oakville exist on private lands and planting trees on public lands alone will not meet the town’s tree canopy target,
  2. if the town wants to encourage tree establishment on private lands, and the involvement of schools, community groups and corporations, it will need to invest resources in fostering and supporting this kind of community stewardship action,
  3. canopy cover, species diversity, and species distribution objectives should drive a comprehensive tree planting action plan for both public and private land,
  4. tree planting plans must be accompanied by enhanced support for post-planting care and maintenance and related public outreach and education investments.

We look forward to moving beyond plans and commitments and towards multi-year budget commitments, and staffing resources required to develop and implement a well thought out tree planting and stewardship action plan for Oakville. Oakville’s future is indeed green if we keep working together one tree at a time.

Residents who are interested in our backyard tree planting program or tree planting and stewardship of trees in parks and greenspaces can contact Oakvillegreen via programs@oakvillegreen.org. Workshops, stewardship events and more information are posted on our events calendar.

Watch the Mayor’s full speech here.