Green spaces at the heart of Gatineau's priorities
The health of Gatineau's forests was recently the subject of a presentation by Gatineau's Service de transition écologique, whose representatives came to present the 2023-2030 Urban Forestry Plan (Plan de foresterie urbaine, or the PFU) to the plenary committee on October 11. Both a beacon in the fight against climate change and an opportunity to cultivate the diversity of local forests, the 2023-2030 PFU has been in the design phase since 2021.
Beginning with a review of certain aspects of the Tree and Woodlot Management Plan (Plan de gestion des arbres et des boisés), the 2023-2030 PFU has been the subject of various meetings, including citizen consultations, consultations with the various City departments involved in urban forestry, and presentations to the Commission de l'environnement et de la lutte aux changements climatiques (CELCC).
The regulatory framework and action plan of the 2023-2030 PFU were adapted following the comments received by the Service de transition écologique and, in September 2022, the final version was presented to the CELCC. The budget for the Urban Forestry Plan will be evaluated and established during the review of the 2023 budget of the City of Gatineau.
The 2023-2030 PFU is defined by four components: two of them will be devoted directly to urban forests (tree planting, conservation, protection and regulation), another will serve as an anchor with the community and the last will cover the follow-up of accounts. It should be noted that Gatineau defines an urban forest as "all isolated trees, small woodlots and large forest stands on municipal, public or private property".
Some twenty actions make up the objectives set by the City's departments, including: achieving a 30% canopy index in all Gatineau communities, planting at least 10,000 trees per year and improving the arboricultural practices currently used on the territory. The evolution and effectiveness of the 2023-2030 PFU will be monitored annually through performance indicators. France Bélisle, Mayor of Gatineau, warmly welcomed the 2023-2030 PFU initiative: "The adoption of the Urban Forestry Plan is excellent news for Gatineau residents.
A healthy and rich urban forest has many ecological, social and economic benefits. In an era marked by climate change, it is more than necessary to have a plan that will, among other things, counteract heat islands on our territory and reduce the gap in communities with a lower canopy index [...]".
In a press scrum following the October 11 meeting of the plenary committee, the mayor also emphasized the importance of the follow-ups proposed in the 2023-2030 PFU with regard to the maintenance of the trees that will be planted annually.
Photo credit: Agatha Rowland - Conseil régional de l'environnement et du développement durable de l'Outaouais (CREDDO).
Photo caption: Tree planting.