More Trees in Cobourg

In 2019, Cobourg had a net loss of 75 trees and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee didn’t think the Town was putting enough money into the budget to replace and add to them.  At their meeting on January 7th, they made a motion that the budget be increased from the $50K proposed to $100K.  Further they wanted an extra $50K for replacement of Emerald Ash trees which are continuing to die off.  Their motion will be presented to the Committee of the Whole Council meeting on January 27 but meanwhile, Budget meetings have been held where the subject was raised by Emily Chorley (she attends the Parks and Rec meetings).  She convinced Council to increase the budget from $50K to $70K but not $100K and no extra for Emerald Ash replacement which already had $40K in the budget.

Tree Planting H.O.H.
Tree Planting for Highway of Heroes

The committee were concerned about the Urban tree canopy which was the subject of an “Urban Forest Management Plan” (UFMP) which was developed with public input starting in 2017 and released in July 2018.  This said:

There are 6,422 active trees [in Cobourg] documented within the inventory of trees (majority are located on public lands). The inventory captures close to all of the trees that the Town manages on publicly owned lands located along streets and laneways and in parks and greenspaces. This estimate does not include Town owned trees located within natural areas, river corridors and land buffers.

The cost of a new tree was estimated at $420 – my math says that means $70K will give 167 new trees. And the $40K for Emerald Ash replacements would fund another 95. In my quick read of the UFMP, the only specific number of trees to be planted per year that I found was 150+, apparently including replacements. This indicates that the Parks and Recreation committee recommendation is an overkill.

And there are of course other tree planting initiatives which are not funded by the Town – for example the Highway of Heroes Tree Planting in October 2018 – see photo and link to report below.


Note: Sorry this post is a bit late compared to my goal of 1:00 pm every second day.  I was working on a complete overhaul of the “parent site” of

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terry marrocco
23 January 2020 8:32 am

Wow, we are basically on the same page about climate change, using locally sourced trees as an important piece!“ With our abundance of the world’s natural assets, we have the opportunity and responsibility to champion nature’s role in fighting climate change by protecting and restoring our forests, wetlands and grasslands… nature could be a consequential part of addressing [climate change] can solve a third of the problem, but given that nature only attracts 3 per cent of capital, there’s serious upside and opportunity.” Frank Gunn, CP, Globe and Mail Dec 30/19.

Gunn also references Trudeau’s paying for our planting seeds, for 2 billion trees in the next decade. Let’s get that tree nursery growing.

One way to get our sustainable tree plan going: Town of Cobourg drafted the comprehensive Urban Forest Management Plan in 2018. Our dedicated arborist, needs a lead to help co-ordinate the plan, get volunteers going. The forest lead could help coordinate the green standards plan in Cobourg’s draft budget linking the sustainability advisory committee, and nature (tree grants)

Bill Thompson
Reply to  terry marrocco
23 January 2020 9:03 am
Cobourg has participated in this endeavour and planted a few trees.
There’s an ongoing requirement to donate/ participate in this worthy goal province wide of dual purpose respecting the military fallen and the environment..

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  terry marrocco
23 January 2020 10:59 am

Trudeau is not paying for anything. Canadian taxpayers are. Because Trudeau has put the country into deep debt with exploding annual deficits, he is saddling future generations with the consequences. Shameful.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Canuck Patriot
24 January 2020 8:33 am

To Canuck Patriot, who ever you are!
How is it that businesses can borrow to invest in what they see as their future but in the minds of many, governments that do so are evil?. Most successful companies carry a high debt load. It is a feature of our capitalist system that inflation, over time reduces the cost of past borrowing.
It is an established fact that Canadas’ per capita national debt is shrinking while personal debt, something that individuals control, is increasing.
The real guestion is not whether or not and to what extent our country should be in debt, but how effectively/productively the borrowed money is spent. Heres’ an example. Doug Ford, focusing only on debt reduction, cancelled the experiment in guaranteed annual income meant to run for 4 years before being evaluated … all this despite the success of others, countries like Portugal. Not all countries showed complete success. There are variations from program to program. But they tried, learned, make modifications and moved on to success. The Head Start program, initiated by Pres Lyndon Johnson saved 7 future expense dollars for every single present dollar invested. There are many other examples.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
24 January 2020 9:14 am

If companies borrow the losses and benefits only affect those who made the decisions. If governments borrow the losses and benefits mainly affect our children who had no say in the decisions. Is that fair?

Company results are reported using legally accepted international accounting standards. Government results, such as the Head Start program, are reported using spin standards.

22 January 2020 10:26 am

How about taking budget money from “climate change” and starting a small Coubourg tree nursery that could be located in town owned property.

Bill Prawecki
22 January 2020 10:22 am

Just as an FYI. Our boulevard Ash trees were removed last April. We asked the town when they would be replaced and we were told in the fall. If so, why remove these mature trees in April and have us wait till Nov or Dec ….. didn’t make sense to the folks on our street. When it came to replanting a few of us offered to pay for mature trees but our request was denied By the town and small trees were planted. The town arborist offered a list of trees that could be planted by the town and even provided the location of each species in town for us to take a look at. Just a note that we could not have done this on our own as the property that the trees were on was town property. Another reason for us not to have planted our own was all the underground cables for fibe, electrical and gas lines had to be identified and marked for the arborist. Just to clarify all these trees being replaced by the town are on town property …… so either we support the replacement or hear from folks living on a street were all the beautiful and mature boulevard trees were cut. This is not like planting trees on the Highway of heroes.

Keith Oliver
22 January 2020 9:51 am

I understand the need if not the urgency of planting more trees, but is there not a less expensive way, also a way of including the public? 20 years ago a young neighbour of mine, who was helping me plant my vegetable garden, started to wonder about trees. We dug up a young seedling and replanted it. It grew to 10 feet in 10 years and is a beautiful mature tree today. He’s married now with his own children. The tree has become a memento of our early frendship. So why the 400 dollar trees. Why not plant very young trees that don’t need a backhoe, can be done by volunteers as well as being cared for, fertilized until roots become established? Plant Willow trees in the various flood plains, look for possibilities of creating several urban forests within the Town, Issue a challenge to neighbourhoods. I’m sure there are many other good ideas out there. The only thing lacking is leadership. I’m all for good government, I’m even willing to pay more taxes, but we can’t always rely on governments to do the right thing and the above is an example.

Reply to  Keith Oliver
22 January 2020 2:36 pm

Great idea for open spaces. In terms of boulevard trees, I think more mature specimens are the way to go. Our street was decimated by the EAB and I would not have been pleased with saplings as replacements.

Many town parks are wasted potential. Grass field wastelands, that no one uses, requiring weekly mowing. Get rid of the mowers and grass, plant some saplings and watch a forest grow. If it has to be in the name of the climate emergency than so be it.

Reply to  Keith Oliver
5 March 2020 10:50 pm

Keith you have a tree policy with a tax receipt. This is to recognize citizens, new ones or loved ones gone. It is a heritage town policy which was revived in 96. All yours, mine and the above!

Douglas Coupar
22 January 2020 8:57 am

So good to hear that the trees are getting some of the attention they deserve! Cobourg’s green canopy is significantly diminished from years ago, which is concerning, both for aesthetic reasons and for the helpful cooling effects that trees provide in the summer.
As a long time gardener and tree planter, I can vouch for the native tree species: they are well suited to the local climate and soil conditions.
The North American Native Plant Society, Toronto, is a good source for homeowners:

#PlantOneTree 🌲

Terry Ashcroft
22 January 2020 8:53 am

What plans does the Town have to replace trees along Cobourg Creek that we’re felled by the family of beavers that made a home in the creek near Peace Park last fall? I counted about 26 trees and shrubs (including trees purchased by individuals in memory of loved ones) during a walk-through in December. Add to that numerous trees and shrubs further south where the creek flows into the lake and it adds up to thousands of dollars.

Reply to  Terry Ashcroft
22 January 2020 9:41 am

I’ve been wondering that also!

On the topic of Peace Park, and I might be making some enemies here, but it is also being wrecked by fisherman. They are destroying the vegetation along the creek banks which leads to erosion.

Constance Mealing
22 January 2020 8:26 am

I would like confirmation of where the trees are obtained from. In our neighborhood the ash trees were replaced this late fall. The property owners were told the trees came from the United States. If this is true whyis that being as how we have tree farms in Canada.

22 January 2020 8:26 am

It would be nice to see the tree planting contract out sourced to a Local supplier
one who actually grows trees and might know which species would be more successful
with in the area and soil conditions they are to be planted in .
I noticed the Ginkgo trees in the harbour area have survived quite nicely and taken
every thing the harsh cold lake can throw at them not to mention all the road salt and hot
south facing sun

Reply to  perplexed
22 January 2020 9:04 am

The town arborist does what you are describing in terms of picking the species. BTW, Gingko trees are nice to look at but are not native to the area and don’t provide much back to the eco-system. They should only be used sparingly.

Reply to  Durka
22 January 2020 10:17 pm

I understand Ginko trees are the longest living trees in the world

Reply to  perplexed
24 January 2020 12:47 am

We’ve lost quite a few mature trees from our fence line here in town, including a couple of ash, but there are all kinds of replacement sprouts already growing in between, including maple, box elder (Manitoba maple) Japanese maple, acacia, elm and even ash.
The only question for us is: which ones do we want to foster and which should we remove while we still have the chance?

Reply to  JimT
24 January 2020 7:40 am

I would email the town arborist. I would think you should eliminate the non-natives, especially since it sounds like it’s a more natural setting.

Reply to  Durka
27 January 2020 10:33 am

Not likely. Those trees are all “natives” now, even if their ancestors were immigrants originally. They all grow quite nicely here.
Part of gardening is knowing which is which and how it will look and perform over its lifetime, and selecting accordingly.

Reply to  JimT
27 January 2020 2:37 pm

The fact that they grow nicely doesn’t mean anything. In fact that’s exactly the problem with invasive species, they grow too well as there are no natural deterrents.

Some research on the Black Locust shows it to be invasive in some areas of Ontario.

In any case our native wildlife gets less benefit from non-native plants. That’s somewhat ok if we’re talking an ornamental tree but the area you’re describing doesn’t sound like that.

21 January 2020 10:16 pm

Unless I am mistaken, the budget pages indicate the $40,000 for Emerald Ash item in the budget is for removal of infected trees and does not include replacement trees. Explanatory note is on the following budget page. The original $50,000 tree planting contract was to include EAB replacements along with other trees. So, $70,000 for tree planting makes it about 167 trees total. In addition, a one to one replacement is typically not an equitable exchange because years of growth enhances the canopy size and related benefits. Most new trees are small relative to the removed tree which is often mature. And according to the Town’s data also in the budget pages, in 2019 164 trees were removed and 150 trees were planted.

John Draper
Reply to  MiriamM
21 January 2020 10:22 pm

It might have been useful for the Committee motion to include that explanation. I don’t recall Emily saying any of that when she asked for the budget increase.

Reply to  John Draper
21 January 2020 10:42 pm

I had to double check the budget pages myself because you are usually right! And, a disclosure, even though I am a new member of the PRAC I am expressing my personal opinion here. However, I will take your suggestion of ensuring clarity in future recommendations I may put forward for the committee’s consideration.