Burlington reviewing urban forest plan, requests input from construction industry

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Burlington is updating its Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP), in response to new pressures and challenges related to urban development, climate change, extreme weather and invasive pests. A virtual information session is scheduled for June 8 at 7 p.m. and following the event, an online survey will be available until June 29.

Landscapers, arborists and anyone in the construction industry is invited to attend a virtual public information session that will include a presentation from staff and urban forestry experts. Participants will have an opportunity to provide input and ask questions.

A link to the online session will be posted here.

“It’s been 12 years since the original Urban Forestry Master Plan was created,” said Enrico Scalera, director of roads, parks and forestry. “A lot has changed in our natural environment since then, including development pressures, tree care best practices, climate change and a heightened awareness of the importance of trees in every aspect of our lives.

“I encourage all homeowners, nature lovers and anyone in the construction, landscape or arborist business to provide feedback and get involved in the updated master plan.”

Burlington’s urban forests cover more than 3,800 hectares and includes extensive wooded natural areas, hundreds of thousands of trees along roads, and in parks, yards and other open spaces. Current analysis estimates an average canopy cover of approximately 23 per cent, comprised of 17 per cent in the urban area and 28 per cent in the rural area.

The purpose of updating the plan is to increase urban forest management effectiveness and efficiency, officials say, and to improve tree health and diversity, minimize risks to the public and maximize the benefits provided by a healthy and sustainable urban forest.

It focuses on public and private lands and focuses on five key areas:

  1. Management and Implementation
  2. Community Engagement and Stewardship
  3. Protection and Preservation
  4. Replenishment and Enhancement
  5. Tree Health and Risk Management

Once feedback is collected, a draft report will be posted online for comments and then the final master plan and report will be presented to Burlington city council in 2023.

Progress updates and milestones will be shared on getinvovledburlington.ca/ufmp. For more information on the City’s forestry, visit burlington.ca/forestry.

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