The City of Windsor is working hard to grow its tree canopy, and residents can have a say.
The city spent $4.3-million since 2020 in an attempt to improve and expand the city's tree canopy which now sits at about 19 per cent. Half a million dollars has been set aside this year alone for tree planting.
During a media briefing Monday, officials said the push has improved the canopy, in part by doubling the amount of large tress planted each year to 2,000.
Ward 10 Coun. Jim Morrison said the city's 10-year budget for tree planting and maintenance is more than $20 million.
"It's really a long-term commitment to really change the way our city looks, to see more tree-lined streets throughout the city," Morrison said during a media briefing Monday.
This year the city will continue its push to plant trees with 1,250 already planted this spring. This fall, more will be planted.
Signs are popping up around the city showing where those city trees will be planted this fall, and residents are reminded not to move them.
Derek Coronado, coordinator of the Citizens Environment Alliance, said the city is moving in the right direction in valuing the tree canopy and committing to growing it, but he thinks the community can do better.
"We're way behind in terms of overall forest cover in Essex County in total, and understandably, the city's focus is just within the city boundaries, but the city does admit as well that it's below average in terms of other major urban centres in Ontario."
He said we should expect to see more tree loss through pests like the emerald ash borer and more violent storms spurred by climate change, and the planning should compensate for this.
"Simply replacing trees that we've lost doesn't mean that automatically we're back at an equal footing," he said. "We're not. It takes several decades for that to happen. And we have to keep in mind, too, that in several decades the climate will have changed to such an extent that we have to be cognizant of the kind of species of trees that we're planting now so that they can survive."
Residents can have a say
James Chacko, senior manager of parks and recreation with the City of Windsor, said the city works with partners like the Essex Region Conservation Authority to do this planting.
He also said local residents can have a say about tree locations by contacting 311.
"One of the neighbours on this street for example can call and ask for a tree, if there is no tree on the property currently in the right of way, we can look to have one planted," Chacko explained.
The city said planting new trees helps with replacing old and dying ones, helps provide needed shade, and absorbs water from significant rainfall.