CORNWALL, Ontario – The City of Cornwall heard a presentation urging them to grow the tree canopy coverage in the municipality.
The presentation was made by Transition Cornwall+ in partnership with Tree Canada.
Presented by Susan Towndrow of Transition Cornwall+ and Michael Rosen of Tree Canada who urged Council to formulate a by-law for municipal trees and to take steps to increase tree canopy coverage to 30 per cent.
“There are times in the life of a community where crucial decisions must be made, and I believe that this is one of them,” Susan Towndrow said. “Protecting the tree canopy in Cornwall is one of the cheapest ways in fighting climate change and we can do that right here, right now.”
Michael Rosen explained some of the advantages that trees could bring to a municipality including an overall increase of property values of between 7 and 19 per cent.
“Studies show that properties that are treed have a higher property value. Obviously, that would reflect the tax rate and the municipality would receive a dividend in the property values,” Rosen said.
Jamie Fawthrop, Cornwall’s Director of Parks and Recreation stated that the City has spent $450,000 over the past year on tree planting, mostly to replace trees lost to the Emerald Ash Borer.
Rosen stated that while not directly comparable, Toronto did spend $70 million this past year on their municipal trees, or about $20 per taxpayer, whereas Cornwall spends less than $10.
He went on to emphasize the value of trees.
“You should really have a by-law for your municipal trees. They are right up there with fire hydrants and light standards and hockey arenas. It is something that increases in value over time,” said Rosen.
Council referred the report to the newly formed Environment and Climate Change Committee who will present Council with actionable items aimed at growing Cornwall’s tree canopy.