In January 2017 the Town hired a Consultant, Kilgour & Associates Limited, to produce an Urban Forestry Master Plan for $34,980. Since then, the consultant has conducted a survey and has been working on specifying what it would take to achieve the specified goals. They have now released their Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) for public comment. On 23 July 2018, they plan to make a presentation and submit it to Council. Public comments will be accepted up to 8 August – see below for details. They would like approval from Council on 13 August. The goals of the plan were spelled out earlier – basically the idea is to provide a guide as to how trees on Public and Private land in Cobourg should be managed. See the link below to the article on “A Community in a Forest”.
The UFMP “presents a workplan for the next 20 years and an operational plan that details the activities required for integrated, cost-effective and proactive management of the urban forest over the next five years, 2018-2022. The operational plan addresses Town challenges in maintaining and replacing public trees, implements tree maintenance and risk management programs, engages the community in tree planting and care, and proposes approaches that use resources efficiently and achieves more effective management over time.”
Specifically in the immediate term, the workplan specifies:
- An update to the public tree inventory
- Enhanced monitoring of management activities and forest health
- Complete tree health assessment and maintenance duties
- Implementing the supporting community stewardship program and resourcing strategy (that is, get citizens involved – my words)
Residents are not always clear on what they can do to help. For example, can they remove the dogstrangling vine from along mid-town creek? They need clear direction from the Town on what they can and cannot do. The report includes a program to address this called: A Community Stewardship Program
Overall, the intent of the plan seems to be to proactively care for and expand the forest as opposed to simply reacting to problems.
The consultant concedes that the Town already has:
- A GIS-based tree inventory
- Aligned Official Plan policies
- A tree preservation by-law
- Urban and landscape design guidelines
- Master Plans for Town Parks and Heritage
- An Asset Management Plan currently under development.
- An existing forestry program for:
- Emerald Ash Borer management
- Maintenance of a tree inventory
- Completion of tree inspections, replacement, maintenance, risk management, and health and safety
The survey results are in Appendix G and consist of a large number of phrases (quotes) with no attempt to summarize or collect responses under a short list of headings.
It’s tempting to look at the Plan as a way to validate work already being done or planned; there do not seem to be a whole lot of new initiatives proposed but instead the plan consolidates and documents what our highly competent arborist Rory Quigley already does and should continue to do.
But the UFMP does produce a 9 point workplan – here’s a summary:
- Establish a Tree Planting Plan to increase forest cover on a Neighbourhood Basis and across the Town – Target of 35%
- Enhance the Tree Maintenance Program
- Proactively Manage Tree Risks
- Establish Community Stewardship Program to inform and involve residents and businesses in care and expansion of the urban forest
- Implement a Funding Strategy
- Regulatory: Update Tree Protection By-Law
- Establish a Town Heritage Tree Program to recognize and conserve important cultural heritage landscapes & trees
- Clear Governance
- Integration with other Town initiatives
And the plan does include some interesting statistics:
- There are 6,422 active trees documented with the majority located on public lands (but 60% of the total number of trees is estimated to be on private property).
- Town planted 2,111 trees in 2014 (through grants), 150 in 2015 and 175 in 2016;
- Dominant species are Maples – approx. 38% of Town trees;
- Approx. 70% of trees are native species;
- There are a total of 111 different tree species identified in the public tree inventory;
- The majority of trees are in Good-Fair condition;
- Close to 50% of Town trees are <20 cm in diameter; and
- Approx. 30% of Town trees are less than or equal to 5.0 m in height;
- Approx.40% of trees are between 5 and 10 m; and
- Approx. 25% of trees are between 10 and 20 m in height.
The plan includes the cost of current Forest management activities ($220K in 2017) but does not spell out the cost of implementing any changes. However, it does include the financial benefit of having trees.
Tree Benefit Estimates for the Town of Cobourg’s Urban Forest
|Particulate Matter – fine||PM2.5||1.78||$13,283|
|Particulate Matter – coarse||PM10||12.3||$4,665|
|Carbon Dioxide Sequestered Annually||CO2||7,478||$329,572|
|Total Value of “Pollutants” Removal||
|Carbon Dioxide Stored in Trees||CO2||188,557||$8,309,561|
The idea of an Urban Forest is generally popular and more so because there are not multi-million dollar projects involved. So although I don’t expect it to be an election issue, it would be helpful to the Town and Rory in particular if you could read the 93 page report (plus its 87 pages of Appendices) and let him know what you think about it (if anything!) (The presentation might be easier reading). I’d guess he’d want to hear from you even if you just say that it looks good.
- A Community in a Forest – 25 October 2017 – includes Goals of the Plan
- Download the Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) (5.8MB pdf)
- Download the Appendices (7.7MB pdf)
- Page on Town’s web site on the Urban Forestry Management Plan
- Presentation to Council by Consultant
- Submit comments or questions to: