By Peter Wynnyczuk, Executive Director Ontario Urban Forest Council Regional Representative Ontario Region
Tree Canada is proud to participate in the efforts taking place all across Canada regarding urban forestry. Here is a quick look at some of the past events and future directions for the Ontario region:
- In November the Ontario Urban Forest Council (OUFC), had held its annual conference at the Heintzman House in Markham with a diverse group of participants to discuss varied topics related to the Urban Forest and opportunities to help retain and improve it. Some of the outcomes were a frank discussion on the role of tree bylaws and tree protection policies during the development process. An informal survey event engaging the participants did highlight the lack of knowledge by politicians and some decision makers on the role trees have in our communities as well as some success stories of collaboration.
- The completion of the community group mapping was a major step for the OUFC, as now individuals can search geographically for the local tree groups in their area for engagement or support: https://www.oufc.org/tree-education/community-action/
- OUFC Advisor, Edith George, attended the Toronto Parks and Environment Committee to show our support for the recognition of Heritage trees by the City of Toronto under their Private Tree Bylaw. In 2008 a list of fifteen (15) trees was presented and proposed to the City of Toronto for consideration for Heritage Tree designation. This list was again presented to the City of Toronto for further recognition and we await the direction from the City. The OUFC will be helping where we can to have more trees recognized under the City Bylaw with the OUFC/Forests Ontario Heritage Tree Program.
- Forests Ontario has launched a search for 150 trees for the OUFC/FO Heritage Tree Program under the auspices of the celebration of Canada’s 150th year. Also, Tree Canada is rolling out 150 greening projects all across the country as part of #Canada150 celebrations, proudly sponsored by CN, which 37 will take place in Ontario.
- Further we are collaborating on existing Ontario wide tree bylaws, street, parks, private, and heritage district, under the University of Toronto to help create a map of the existing tree protection bylaws.
The OUFC is anticipating a number of workshops this year commencing in late May with a series of half-day workshops across south/central Ontario. The topics will include Heritage Tree designation process under the Heritage Act and local planning opportunities related to tree retention/enhancement. The first event is proposed for the last week of May in Peterborough, details and dates/times to be announced on the Ontario Urban Forest Council website (www.oufc.org).