Ruth Ferguson Aulthouse of RFA Planning Ltd. contributed a study on the state of Belleville’s urban forest to the city. INQUINTE.CA FILE PHOTO
A passion for a local businesswoman has become a valuable tool for the city of Belleville in developing a policy to protect and enhance its trees and natural vegetation. As noted in the report, a “healthy urban forest improves the quality of life of City of Belleville residents,” including the environment, the economy and the community.
The findings showed a six per cent reduction in cover which cost the city more than $100,000 in estimated environmental benefits. Aulthouse said the report shows the significant benefits to the community of having a progressive tree canopy program in place.
“It can make a big difference for a small cost,” she said of the program, which could require trees as part of new developments and ensure the city replants trees for those it removes. He said a key part of the community engagement and education portion is to show people the benefits of maintaining and adding to the city’s tree canopy.
Those benefits include environmental benefits such as improving air quality, economic benefits such as increasing property values and conserving energy, and community benefits such as improving walkability and making neighbourhoods more attractive.
She noted that part of the new focus of the city’s green efforts includes planting of edible trees, such as the three apple and two pear trees that have been recently planted at the Bayview Heights Community Garden. MORE