Collingwood Continues to Protect and Grow our Tree Canopy
During the August 8th Strategic Initiatives Committee meeting, Council will be presented with a refresher on the current policies and plans that preserve and protect the tree canopy, as well as recommendations for short and mid-term actions to augment that important work including funding needed.
Collingwood’s current tree canopy preservation tools include the Planning Act, Official Plan, Tree Preservation By-law, Simcoe County Tree By-law, and the Urban Design Manual. The Town also continues with ongoing tree preservation and maintenance on Collingwood’s municipal lands through both in-house and contracted resources. The forthcoming Corporate and Community Climate Action Plans will also the important role trees play in carbon sequestration and addressing the impacts of climate change.
Council recognizes the importance of Collingwood’s tree canopy having adopted the Urban Forest Management Plan in February 2020. Council further provided direction on May 30, 2022, for staff to consider further steps to preserve and augment this important natural asset. In addition, under the Goal: enhance community well-being and sustainability of The Town’s Community Based Strategic Plan (2020-2023), we need to “preserve the town’s environment and take action on climate change”, which includes work to “baseline and improve Town’s environmental performance measures” within one (1) to three (3) years.
While the Town’s current Official Plan sets out high level objectives with respect to the tree canopy, the proposed Official Plan update includes language that strengthens the approach to preserving and augmenting our tree canopy. Consultation is currently underway for this update. Further information is available at: https://engage.collingwood.ca/official-plan and feedback can be provided by email to: email@example.com.
Community support for tree canopy preservation and augmentation has been shown through the generous donation of Julie DiLorenzo, which funded the Canopy Collingwood Program that expanded its mandate this year to include pollinator garden support. As well, the Collingwood Climate Action Team, a volunteer-based organization, and the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, support preserving and augmenting the tree canopy as part of local climate and environmental related initiatives.
In Staff Report CAO2022-11 Tree Canopy Preservation & Augmentation – Next Steps being presented to the Strategic Initiatives Committee on Monday, August 8th, the recommendations proposed in the report to the Strategic Initiatives Committee include:
THAT Council receive the August 2022 Update from Administration on the Tree Canopy Preservation & Augmentation Approach;
AND THAT Council direct Administration to retain consultant(s), funded first from Corporate Contingency (~$30,000) and then from General Reserve Funds, to complete the following work for presentation to the newly elected Council, at an estimated cost of $75,000-100,000:
i. undertake a targeted update to the Urban Design Manual and Development Engineering Standards and comprehensive update to the tree regulation by-law to enhance the protection, preservation and augmentation of the tree canopy within the context of the Town’s Urban Forest Management Plan, including a “gold standard” jurisdictional scan for best management practices in effect in other municipalities;
ii. draft a site alteration bylaw and process updates;
iii. facilitate a community consultation process regarding those implementation tools and process updates, including any other actions recommended;
iv. make recommendations on the implementation resources required to administer the updated tools and processes;
v. implement an ongoing tree canopy inventory monitoring process;
AND THAT Council approves an in-year additional expenditure of $75,000 to fund immediate tree maintenance and removal and this amount be funded through the Operating Contingency Fund Reserve.
AND THAT Council directs Administration to present the request for an Urban Forestry Unit, contract and/or partnership during the 2023 Operating Budget deliberations.
Staff Report CAO2022-11 Tree Canopy Preservation & Augmentation – Next Steps will be considered for final approval by Council at their meeting scheduled for August 18th, 2022, assuming it passes through committee.
For more information, contact:
Manager, Public Relations & Communications
T. 705-445-1030 Ext. 3274