On Council agenda for May 9 there is a three year annual progress report of the corporate strategic plan (CSP). The four priority areas of the CSP are: a green and sustainable future, investing in infrastructure, cultivating safe, healthy and resilient communities and service delivery excellence and innovation. As evident from the report there has been significant progress on many of the 64 actions. Reading through the actions is a challenge; rather than getting bogged down in them I do recommend that you go to the last page of the report (page 74 of 74) where there is a simple chart showing the progress in delivering the community benefits. If this is a topic that interests you I urge you to join the live stream of the Council meting as there will be a presentation of the report. You can send in your comments to [email protected] or you can register by noon May 9 at [email protected] to make a deputation.
The Community Benefits chart shows that net tree/forest area coverage in King is not on track. An explanation and comment for this indicator is provided earlier in the report. “ Despite the fact that the number of trees planted year over year has increased based on York Region’s forest management reports it was determined that King saw a decrease of tree coverage in 2021. However, planned development is occurring with approved settlement areas as directed by our Official Plan. Therefore while the tree coverage has decreased in urban areas temporarily due to development, developers are required to replant the trees that they eliminated. As such it is expected that tree area coverage will increase once replanted trees are accounted for.”
Although the explanation comment may be accurate it is not complete. What is missed is the recognition that planting three trees for every mature tree cut down is not a replacement for what the mature trees were providing in terms of carbon sequestration and other benefits. It will take . decades for those new trees to “replace those that are cut down.” I think the indicator for the tree canopy growth needs to take into account this fact.