City of Peterborough, Hydro One plant 500 trees in wake of derecho storm

Click to play video: 'City working to restore tree canopy damaged in 2022 derecho storm'
City working to restore tree canopy damaged in 2022 derecho storm
The City of Peterborough held a day of tree planting in the East End on June 7. It is all to repair the damage caused by a massive windstorm this time last year. Sam Houpt reports – Jun 7, 2023

More than 500 trees were planted in Peterborough, Ont., on Wednesday in an effort to address trees lost in the May 2022 derecho storm.

At Ashburnham Memorial Park, the City of Peterborough and Hydro One teamed up to plant 500 saplings. The city says its urban canopy was left weakened by the May 21, 2022 derecho storm, putting out a call for restoration efforts.

“We lost approximately 700 to 800 of our municipal street trees, within the road allowance,” said Leighanne Howard, the city’s urban forest manager.

Howard said a number of different species of tree were planted in the park that are meant to be more resilient and adaptable to storms and droughts.

Deputy Mayor Gary Baldwin was joined by fellow councillors  Keith Riel and Joy Lachica to help with the planting.

Story continues below advertisement

“Our urban forest will take many years to recover and today’s planting will speed up that particular recovery,” said Baldwin. “They say the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.”

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Hydro One provided some additional workforce for the planting.

“We committed last year after the storm that we would be there in sponsoring any tree initiatives in order to replace the green space that was lost,” said Terri French, Hydro One executive vice-president, operations and customer experience. “So we have volunteers here, staff here, we’re very happy to be partnering with the city.”

Howard says the city has an urban canopy target of 35 per cent coverage by 2051. However, that’s going to require participation from residents since 80 per cent of Peterborough’s canopy is on private property.

Story continues below advertisement

As part of the tree planting initiative, the city gave 250 trees to area residents.

“It allows them to kind of be stewards of our environment in their own backyards as well,” said Howard.

She said the city is planning more tree-planting initiatives, including one in the fall.

Sponsored content