A neighbourhood association is celebrating a win after Winnipeg city council approved using money from a parks and recreation fund to pay to replace nearly 100 boulevard trees destroyed by Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer.
“We’re just thrilled that we have a good chunk of money for boulevard trees,” Emma Durand-Wood, a volunteer with the Glenelm Neighbourhood Association, said Thursday. The group advocates for residents in a pocket of Elmwood bordered by Henderson Highway, the Red River and Elmwood Park.
City council approved a plan to use $53,000 from the land dedication reserve fund, a pot of money set aside for improvements to parks and recreation spaces, to pay for 98 saplings of various tree species and the labour costs to plant the trees and maintain them for two years.
The area’s city councillor, Jason Schreyer, says he hopes other neighbourhoods take advantage of the funds to address gaps in boulevards caused by the rapid spread of diseases and pests.
“Winnipeg continues to lose our elm trees, and we have the largest urban elm density in North America. Winnipeg will also lose almost 100 per cent of its ash trees in the next 10 years. This will be a great project for the rest of the city to learn from,” Schreyer wrote in a news release Thursday.
Durand-Wood says her group would be happy to help any other neighbourhood association that wishes to apply for money from the land dedication reserve although, she says, in her view this strategy is a short-term solution.
“The money that we accessed today is meant for parks … we’re using this for boulevards because this is really a crisis situation,” she said, adding she is calling for more funding for the city’s forestry division.