Glenelm residents request parks funds to plant more boulevard trees
Neighbourhood association speaks before council to request $53K from land dedication reserve
An Elmwood neighbourhood association is poised to become the second group in Winnipeg to successfully campaign for parks funding to pay for new boulevard trees in areas stricken by the emerald ash borer and Dutch elm disease.
The Glenelm Neighbourhood Association is asking for $53,000 from the East Kildonan — Transcona land dedication reserve fund to pay for 98 young trees and to hire a private contractor to plant and maintain them. The fund is normally used to pay for improvements to parks and renovations to recreation facilities.
"We thought time was really of the essence to get some new trees in there so they have a chance to start growing before we loose all these big, mature trees," said Emma Durand-Wood, a volunteer with the association.
All the ash trees in Winnipeg are at risk of dying in the coming decade due to the emerald ash borer. In Glenelm, the neighbourhood association estimates 61 per cent of public trees are either ash or elm.
If the latter manage to survive Dutch elm, they will likely come down anyway because they're so old. Many of the elms in Glenelm were planted a century ago.
"I think trees are important everywhere but it's our namesake," said Durand-Wood. "Elm is in the name of our neighbourhood,"
The association's plan has already been approved by the local community committee as well as the mayor's executive policy committee. Council has final say on Thursday.
Without the reserve fund, the city informed residents it would only replace about half the dead trees, said Durand-Wood.
Glenelm Neighbourhood Association estimates there are currently 98 gaps in boulevards that need replacing now and a further 181 trees that will die in the coming decade.
The group is following a model by Friends of Peanut Park which successfully applied for $12,000 from the land dedication reserve fund in February to re-plant trees along boulevards in the River Heights area.
Durand-Wood said her group is working closely with the city's parks department to make the process even easier for any future community groups that wish to use the land dedication reserve fund to pay for tree replacement along boulevards.
Friends of Glenelm hopes to have the funds to begin planting late summer or fall 2019.