July 10, 2017 6:52 pm

Tree planting initiative gets $170K funding boost

Ableimages / The Canadian Press

A municipal effort to make the name Forest City ring true has received a second funding boost.

Londoners are encouraged to plant trees on private property after an additional $170,000 has been made available through the TreeMe Matching Fund community grant program.

“We’re not talking about in someone’s front yard,” explained Janice Walker, the City’s manager of Community Development & Funding Neighbourhood, Children & Fire Services.

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“If you’ve got a plaza or a neighbourhood that has some businesses in that area, it’s trying to engage them to have more trees planted on what could potentially be a lot of pavement.”

Places of worship, business associations, co-operative housing, schools, and not-for-profit agencies are on a list of locations that could apply for up to $50,000 for a planting project.

“The money specifically is going directly towards the purchasing of trees, soil, or mulch.”

Walker says the matching dollar value can include participant’s volunteer time on a project, worth $20 an hour. A project needs to match 25 per cent of the requested amount and will help the city achieve its goal of having a tree canopy cover 34 per cent of London by 2065.

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Shading the city and giving people a place to cool down aren’t the only benefits of a larger city canopy, said Walker.

“Reducing air pollution, assisting in carbon storage, increasing property value, it increases outdoor play activity because people find there’s more spots to be shaded in, it provides habitat and greater biodiversity.”

“We want to make the Forest City one of the greenest communities in Canada,” said Mayor Matt Brown. “The TreeME program is another way we’re taking steps towards that, by offering Londoners support to plant trees in the neighbourhoods where they live, work and play.”

Applications are due by August 14th, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. Funds will be distributed by early September 2017, with planting completed by November 1, 2018.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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