City Hall is conducting a major review of all City services to determine which programs to reduce or cut. This review has a very short timeline, and focuses on short term costs, failing to consider the environmental and social benefits of Toronto's programs. Amongst other recommendations for cuts, the consultant’s report suggests that the City could stop planting and trees and reduce Toronto's Tree Canopy target of 30-40% tree cover in the City. For background information on the review of City services and the consultant’s report visit TEA's website.
PLEASE VOICE YOUR SUPPORT FOR TORONTO’S URBAN FOREST BY CONTACTING YOUR COUNCILLOR TODAY!
A quick email that outlines why you feel that Toronto should continue to invest in the protection and renewal of our urban forest will make a difference. Your email should be sent to your Councillor, and copied to the Mayor and the Parks and Environment Committee. Please send your message by end of day Wednesday, July 20, as city council meets this Thursday. Be sure to include your full name and address in the email.
Go to the city's website for information on current urban forestry programs. Of particular note is the "Every Tree Counts" study recently completed by the City of Toronto. Great facts and figures in this report on the dollar value of ecological services provided by our urban forest.
Below is a sample message that you can customize with your own thoughts:
To: [Local Councillor] Find their email here. If you aren't sure, who it is, find your local Councillor here.
cc: "Mayor Ford"
Subject: No cuts to urban forestry
Dear Councillor ----
I am writing today to urge you to ensure that the City does not cut funding to Urban Forestry Services
From the Toronto website is the following:
All ash trees in Toronto are at risk of dying from this infestation. Mortality may occur in as short a period as one year, however, death normally occurs within 2-3 years of a tree becoming infested. The recent tree canopy study estimates that there are 860,000 ash trees in total on public and private lands. The initial areas of infestation detected in 2007 are likely to lose most of their ash trees by 2012. EAB will eventually spread to the rest of Toronto, killing most ash trees in the City by about 2015 - 2017. The City of Toronto has a plan (Link: EAB staff report) to manage the impact of EAB on Toronto`s urban forest.
Protecting existing trees and planting new trees is an investment that pays off in many ways - cleaner air, less stormwater to treat (a huge expense for the city), UV protection for our kids, better mental health and a much more attractive place for tourists to come and spend their money!!
The City's free street tree program, where trees are planted on City property in front of homes upon request, is a vital program that should not be cut. Also maintaining the private tree protection bylaw is of utmost importance. Trees should be protected because they are a common resource. It doesn't matter where they are rooted on public or private property, the benefits they provide accrue to the whole community. When we lose a large, mature tree, it simply cannot be replaced! The environmental and economic benefits that trees provide increase exponentially with the size of the tree.
Toronto's trees are an incredibly valuable resource that we cannot afford to neglect. I urge you to ensure that the urban forest in our community is maintained and improved.
Thank you for taking a few moments to tell you representatives how you feel and speaking up for our urban forest!