Delta’s Urban Forest

Delta Tree Urban Reforestation MVCU from Metro Vancouver on Vimeo.

The first year of the Corporation of Delta’s Urban Reforestation Project will see more than 1,000 trees planted in Delta. In five years, a total of 5,000 trees will be planted in Delta’s parks, boulevards, and medians.

The Corporation of Delta aims for 5,000 trees by 2020 with the Urban Reforestation Project, a developer-funded reforestation program. A plan has been developed to increase the tree canopy to cover 40 per cent of the total ground surface of Delta.  It’s the result of a 2014 aerial survey which revealed Delta’s urban tree canopy cover was declining to about 35 per cent coverage in North Delta, 25 per cent in Tsawwassen, and just 19 per cent in Ladner.

screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-3-57-59-pmCraig Phillips, Delta’s Urban Forestry Coordinator, oversees a crane lifting a 20 foot tree into a hole in a North Delta boulevard. He lists off the many environmental services of trees, including storm water mitigation,  improved air quality in terms of particulate and ozone, and wildlife habitat. Phillips notes additional socio-economic benefits from trees such as reduced maintenance on tree-shaded asphalt, longer shopping times on treed streets, and improved property values. “But also a real benefit is the younger generation is going to interact with the trees.  They are going to see squirrels, birds, a raccoon maybe,” he said.

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Mayor Lois Jackson explains the funding model. “We require the developer to replace trees two to one on a property if they are taken down,” she said. “The taxpayer doesn’t pay for the re-plantings.” She adds that if the trees can’t be replaced on that property, funds are taken in lieu and used for plantings on boulevards, yards and in parks.

Park Director Ken Kuntz says his job is to educate residents not only on the ecological value of trees, but also the future aesthetic contribution to a neighbourhood 15 and 50 years down the road.  “Its a pretty special place, those tree lined streets that cover the street or create an archway where you can drive down or walk down,” he said. “We are hoping to create that environment over decades, one that has that special feel.”

More about the Corporation of Delta’s Urban Reforestation Project

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