Urban forest growth for Greenest City 2020 Action Plan

Local golfers can get used to more trees getting in the way of their tees because of Vancouver’s Greenest City plan. Photo: Ryan Banagan.

The  Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is committed to planting 150,000 new trees throughout the city by 2020.

The Park Board is responsible for maintaining Vancouver’s urban forest of approximately 140,000 street trees which line boulevards and medians, along with all trees in over 200 public parks.

Greenest City 2020 Action Plan

The Vancouver city council completed the first major step when it approved the Greenest City Action Plan in July 2011.

The plan is divided into 10 smaller plans, each with a long-term goal.

Together, the 10 plans address three overarching areas of focus: carbon, waste and ecosystems.

The Park Board is focusing their attention on the ecosystem.

“Goal six, access to nature, has two targets. Plant 150,000 trees and have all Vancouver residents live within a five-minute walk of a park, greenway, or other greenspace by 2020,” said Park Board Commissioner Niki Sharma.

The trees

“Trees provide an incredible array of environmental, social and economic benefits,” said Parks Board communications manager Joyce Courtney.

“Including: cleaner air, habitat and food for wildlife, reduced erosion, improved water quality, increased property values, and neighbourhood pride.”

In order to reach the target, the board will require public and private partners contribution.

The board estimates a third of the trees will be planted as street trees.

Another third will be planted in parks and other public properties, and the final third will be planted on private properties.

In an email statement,  the Director of Parks said, “At this point we do not have a specific list of locations where we are going to plant all of the trees but to plant this many trees they will be planted in every part of the City.”

Board staff are projecting about 3,000 street trees will be planted in 2012.

The budget

Courtney stated about two thirds of the trees comes from the Park Board’s own tree farm in Langley.

The annual planting program costs about $650,000 from the Park Board capital budget.

The unit cost of a new tree is $375.

In 2012 there was $67,400 added to the budget to support maintenance of these new trees.

Maintenance of the trees includes planting, pruning and dealing with pests and diseases regarding the tree.

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Reported by Ryan Banagan

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