WINNIPEG – At next week’s Executive Policy Committee meeting, two motions will be introduced by Mayor Bowman to initiate the Million Tree Challenge.

“With our tree canopy under threat by diseases such as Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer, we as a City need to do more to protect the trees we have and expand our reforestation efforts,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Our tree canopy is a great source of pride for many Winnipeggers and these motions will put us on track toward the implementation of the Million Tree Challenge.”

The first motion will task the City of Winnipeg Public Service to report back in 90 days with a plan to implement and promote a program that includes a tracking mechanism with the goal of planting one million trees in Winnipeg before the City’s population reaches one million people. This program will guide individuals, not-for-profit agencies, as well as private businesses to help plant a million new trees in Winnipeg. 

The second motion will ask Winnipeg’s Public Service to conduct a cross jurisdictional scan and consult with industry and community stakeholders on the creation of a Tree Protection and Preservation By-law, integrate this into the Comprehensive Urban Forest Management Strategy and report back to the Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks in 2020.

Many major cities in Canada have tree protection by-laws that address tree removal and alteration on private and public property.

Last month, the Mayor shared his vision for Winnipeg’s Million Tree Challenge and it has already been very well-received by Winnipeggers. It’s an effort that would result in a net expansion and growth of our tree canopy, and an effort that goes beyond replacing existing trees lost to age, disease, or other impairments.

We’ll be tracking where trees are being planted, organizing volunteer tree plantings on public and private property, and working with Tree Canada to accept donations to the Million Tree Challenge. We’ll also focus on tree education and ensuring we create a more diverse urban forest that will stand for generations.

Many individuals and organizations have already asked how to participate and CN has already committed $1 million to get the Challenge started.

“I’ve already personally heard from many individuals and organizations that would like to take up the challenge and that’s why these initial steps to initiate the program are so important,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “These steps chart a path so we can build on that positive momentum to expand our community’s urban forest to make sure it’s there for generations to come!