Trees are the lungs of our City – studies show a direct correlation between the well-being of our city and the strength of our urban forest. Toronto’s trees store 1.1 million metric tonnes of carbon, which is equivalent to the yearly carbon emissions from over 700,000 automobiles.
During a hot Toronto summer, our tree canopy provides a much-needed cooling effect by offering shade and transpiring water. Trees have proven to be an efficient and cost-effective method of alleviating the urban heat island effect – which occurs when the densely packed buildings and paved surfaces that make up our downtown core trap heat and cause the city to warm.
As a City Councillor, I've spearheaded multiple initiatives to protect and enhance Toronto's urban tree canopy. Last week at City Council, I successfully moved two motions to help ensure proper planning measures are in place to preserve trees on active construction sites. While not all trees on building sites can be preserved, those in good health with strong structural integrity should always be protected.
Despite my ongoing efforts to strengthen our tree protection bylaws, your feedback has indicated that many developers continue to disregard mandatory Tree Protection Zones during the construction process. Once root damage has been sustained, it is extremely difficult to bring a tree back to good health, making it imperative that reported bylaw contraventions are inspected in a timely manner. I've directed Urban Forestry staff to develop strategies to improve the City's standard response time to reports of urgent tree-related violations.
With this in mind, I'm excited to announce that, this fall, Urban Forestry is planting 364 native trees across ten parks in Ward 15. The parks receiving this treatment are:
Evergreen Gardens Park
Lord Seaton Park
Mallory Green Park
In addition to beautifying our neighbourhoods, a stronger Ward 15 tree canopy will improve biodiversity, restore the native plant community, and prevent soil erosion.
Ward 15 is fortunate to have one of the densest tree canopies in all of Toronto. As your City Councillor, I will continue to support policies that protect our urban forest and green spaces for generations to come.