Riverview Community Centre

Trees Riverview Update

Winnipeg City Council has almost unanimously passed its 2024-27 budget that includes significant new funding for Winnipeg’s urban forest. We, like many of our neighbours, have watched and lamented the many trees cut down in our neighbourhood due to disease in the last few months alone. So we’re celebrating a boost in funding that will help to replenish and protect our trees in future. This is good news for our neighbourhood–and neighbourhoods across our city.

Over the next four years the city plans to increase the Urban Forestry budget substantially. The operating budget, which covers planting, pruning/removal and Dutch Elm Disease management, will sit at just over $17 million for 2024, rising to $28 million by 2027. The Urban Forestry Department will be able to hire for 18 new full-time positions in 2024 for a total of 110 positions, and is aiming for 140 full-time positions by 2027.

This budget comes after the City voted in favour of the 20-year Winnipeg Urban Forest Strategy in December.

The Urban Forest Strategy emerges from a growing recognition that we are rapidly losing the tree canopy that provides both beauty and health to our city. Indeed, the City’s public tree inventory shows that more than 50% of the City’s public trees are at risk just from current invasive species. The strategy recognized that without new investments–and a comprehensive vision–Winnipeg could lose approximately 25% of its tree canopy by 2065. The strategy is a comprehensive vision of a more abundant, diverse and healthier urban forest over the next 20 years.

Key goals include:

  • Increase canopy cover by 20% by 2045 (and by 24% by 2065)
  • Lose no more than 2% of American elms annually
  • Replace every tree removed with a newly planted tree
  • Increase public tree diversity, so there is no more than 10% of any one tree species
  • Increase pruning cycles to every 7 years for street trees and 12 years for park trees.

To achieve the goals of increased tree cover, the Strategy stated that Winnipeg will have to plant approximately 17,000 trees per year on all suitable properties, in addition to the trees that will need to be planted on streets and parks to replace each tree removed.

This year’s budget is an important step towards protecting and growing our shared tree canopy.

To learn more, email carolthiessen10@gmail.com

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