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Port Moody is giving away trees. Here's why, and how you can get one

One tree per Port Moody household will be available until the supply of 270 trees runs out.
Port Moody's urban forest management plan will look to increase the city's tree canopy cover to 59 per cent by 2050.

Port Moody residents can help boost the city’s tree canopy.

The city is giving away trees at three events, beginning April 21 at the weekly farmers market at the recreation complex.

The trees will also be available at a special pop-up event outside the entrance to City Hall on April 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and at the annual Fingerling Festival on May 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The giveaway of one tree per household is limited to Port Moody residents only and will last until the supply of 270 free trees runs out.

There will be 10 species of trees available, from dwarf varieties like the Sester Dwarf Blue Spruce, that grows to a height of only eight feet, to the mighty Douglas fir that can reach a height of 80 feet. The trees come in five- or 10-gallon pots and staff will be available to help residents make the proper selection for their space.

“Before taking a tree, consider how much time and physical capacity you have to look after it,” a city news release stated. “Trees need to be pruned, mulched and cleared of leaves periodically.”

The $21,000 cost of the trees is being covered by cash-in-lieu funds collected from permits required by homeowners and developers to remove trees who can't otherwise replant new ones, said Julie Pavey-Tomlinson, Port Moody's director of environment and parks.

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According to a report to be presented to Port Moody's park and environment committee next Monday, April 15, the giveaway could be the first of several; more trees could be handed out in the fall or at other civic events.

They would form a component of a proposed 10-year master tree planting plan that will focus on street boulevards and park edges, neighbourhood boulevards and within high density developments.

Last September, Port Moody council approved an urban forest management plan to increase the city’s tree canopy coverage to 59 per cent by 2050, up from its current 58 per cent.

Pavey-Tomlinson said boosting the tree canopy on private property will be key to attaining that goal; currently only 28 per cent of the city's tree cover is on private urban land while 69 per cent is in parks and open land.

According to a consultant hired by Port Moody to formulate its forest management strategy, the city spends a little more than $10 per resident on managing its tree canopy. Neighbouring Coquitlam spends more than $15 per resident.

Coun. Haven Lurbiecki said Port Moody is “struggling” with retaining trees.

“Climate impacts are happening now,” she said.

Chad Siemens, a project manager for the city, said trees “are a critical resource for the community.”

Learn about changes to tree protection bylaw

Meanwhile, Port Moody is soliciting residents' input on proposed changes to the city's bylaw that regulates the protection of trees on public and private property as well as land within environmentally sensitive areas and riparian zones.

A public information session is being held Thursday, April 25, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at city hall (100 Newport Dr.). In addition to a presentation at 5:30 p.m., there will be information boards and city staff and consultants will be on hand to answer questions.

An online survey runs until May 12, or paper surveys can be picked up at city hall to be returned by May 10.