As Council is aware, following the severe storm on Saturday May 21, 2022, the City moved to enhanced operations and then quickly escalated to activated operations to coordinate response activities. Public Works mobilized all available resources to address the incident. Resources have been focused on three key priorities: restoring our transportation system, removing damaged trees, branches, and storm-related debris, and collecting organic waste.
As a result, changes to services have taken place to deploy resources to address these needs.
Modifications to Spring Tree Planting Operations
Specific to Parks Maintenance and Forestry, tree planting operations have been temporarily suspended as crews focus their efforts on storm clean-up. The spring tree planting season generally occurs between May 1 and June 30. Scheduled spring plantings that did not take place before Saturday May 21 are now prioritized for the fall to allow forestry staff to focus on the clean-up.
• Cancelled – Spring Community Plantings Three of six community tree planting events scheduled for the spring have been cancelled.
Two events scheduled on Saturday May 28 in Ward 10 and Ward 3 and the event scheduled for Saturday June 4 in Ward 4 have been cancelled. Some of the sites were impacted by the storm and the forestry resources assigned to those plantings are required for clean-up efforts. All groups and relevant ward Councillors have been advised. Staff will work with groups to reschedule to a future planting season.
• Postponed – Trees in Trust, Commemorative Trees, Schoolyard Tree Planting Grant
Program, and Park and Streetscape Plantings Unless planting took place before Saturday May 21, 2022, scheduled spring planting as part of the Commemorative Tree Program, Schoolyard Tree Plantings and Park and Streetscape Planting is now prioritized for fall 2022.
• Extended – Deadline for Schoolyard Tree Planting Grant Program
We will be extending the application deadline for the Schoolyard Tree Planting Grant Program to October 1 (normal deadline is June 1) for project implementation in spring 2023.
• Continuing –Tree Replacement Through Trees in Trust Program
Residents may apply online to have City-owned trees in front of their homes replaced through the Trees in Trust Program. The Trees in Trust Program plants City-owned trees on the right of way in front of residents' homes. We have seen many of these trees impacted by the severe storm. Staff are looking to replace those impacted City-owned trees located on the right of way. Residents may proactively request a replacement tree by completing an online form.
• Starting – Tree Replacement in Parks
Parks Maintenance and Forestry staff are taking note of significantly damaged trees in parks and building a list to assess for replanting. Staff will implement those replacement projects in 2023 and beyond.
Although postponing planting and cancelling events is disappointing, I want to assure members of Council that we will be looking closely at how to re-establish forest cover in the community once storm clean-up efforts are complete.