Saskatchewan

Regina losing more trees than it can plant

In 2020, Regina had a net loss of 356 trees. According to a report, many trees are dying because of the extended drought in the region. 

Many trees have been lost to drought: city report

Regina's urban forest is primarily made up of elm and ash trees. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

The city of Regina is losing trees — and fast. 

In 2020, Regina had a net loss of 356 trees. According to a report, many trees are dying because of the extended drought in the region. 

The tree loss trend is continuing into 2021: 519 trees have been removed as of the end of September. 

"This is the first year where removals have exceeded plantings in recent memory," the report reads, in part. 

"Environment Canada reports that drought experienced during 2020 was the fourth lowest precipitation amount in the Regina area for 130 years."

Storms also affected trees this past year in a big way. A total of 663 trees were serviced for summer storm events in 2020. Sixty-three trees were removed and 600 were repaired.

"The 2020 total number of trees repaired or removed for storm events is more than the previous four years combined," part of the report reads. 

The operations and community services committee is looking at ways to help the problem for future years at their meeting Wednesday.

Here's what the committee will recommend to council:

  • Consider increasing the tree replacement budget from $91,000 per year to $125,000 per year through the 2022 budget process, with a further increase of $25,000 per year for the next five years.  
  • Approve the tree donation program which allows residents to plant trees on public lands on application to the City.
  • Declare the first Wednesday of June each year, beginning in 2022, Arbor Day Regina and donate 1,000 tree seedlings to Regina residents.

Changes to the forestry bylaw are also being recommended, which include upping the minimum removal fee for established trees to $500 per tree from $300. 

Another possible option would be to increase funding more aggressively over a shorter period of time. 

The committee meets Wednesday at 2 p.m. to discuss. The next council meeting is Nov. 24.

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