.Corp Comm Connects

Town seeks resident input to maintain, enhance Richmond Hill urban forest

Residents are invited to provide comments online to be considered as an urban forest master plan is created

July 4, 2018
Teresa Latchford

The Town of Richmond Hill wants your ideas on how to maintain and protect its urban forest.

The municipality’s urban forest consists of all the trees located on public and private property throughout the community, including the trees in people’s yards, that line the streets and those standing in parks and natural areas.

The town is currently developing a plan meant to protect, maintain and enhance its urban forest since every tree is a shared and valuable community asset providing environmental, ecological, social, cultural and economic benefits.

“We started the process at the end of last year,” Richmond Hill natural environment manager Ann Marie Farrugia.

'We are human beings who need help': Mobility Plus transit user
The town brought in a consultant to conduct a comprehensive review of current urban forestry and tree canopy policies and to identify any gaps.

Over the past decade, Richmond Hill has been working to enhance its urban forest by implementing a number of practices including tree planting, maintenance and the removal of dead, hazardous and invasive trees.

These initiatives include the tree preservation bylaw helps to manage the removal of trees on private property, community stewardship program volunteers plant 10,000 trees every year in parks and natural areas and Healthy Yards program providing resident the opportunity to purchase native trees and shrubs for their own property.

Over the past three years, the town has also replaced 5,900 trees on streets and in parks to mitigate the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer.

The town currently has 29 per cent urban forest coverage, above the official plan's goal of 25 per cent.

“Unfortunately, rising pressures from development, climate change, invasive species, pests and pathogens are impacting trees in Richmond Hill,” Farrugia said.

In an attempt to withstand these pressures, the town is developing an urban forest management plan to build on current initiatives and provide a framework and strategic road map for preservation.

Feedback will be considered as the town completes a report including a summary of comments and key action recommendations to be presented to council before a draft plan is completed.

Residents can provide feedback by taking the online survey at RichmondHill.ca before July 13.

Visit the town’s website or email naturalenvironment@richmondhill.ca for more information.