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Community Greening

Goal

To protect, maintain and improve the biodiversity, ecosystems and the well-being of the green infrastructure of Thunder Bay.

Why It Matters

The urban forest and other ecological components of the City, termed here as “Green Infrastructure,” are a key component of the City’s commitment to sustainability. The management of Thunder Bay’s green infrastructure involves the sustained planning, planting, protection, maintenance and care of trees, forests, green space, and related resources in and around our communities. Green infrastructure on public and private lands beautifies our community, increases civic pride, and enhances our sense of well-being. It is an important tool in the fight against climate change, air and water pollution, crime, and a plethora of other urban challenges, and can be used strategically to provide a cleaner environment while increasing the health, wellbeing, and economic prosperity of a city.

Lack of growing space above and below ground, contaminated and compacted soils, de-icing salt, and the physical damage caused by construction, lawn mowers, people and cars all challenge our green infrastructure. Suburban development and large scale, unregulated tree cutting on private land threaten the biodiversity and ecology of our rural forests. Climate change has resulted in drought conditions within the Lake Superior watershed, and our forests are increasingly threatened by forest fires and pest infestations. The protection of municipal rural natural areas through preservation and management provides carbon sequestration, resilience in a changing climate, and protects ecosystem services. Green infrastructure positively affects a city’s walkability, downtown economic vitality, property values, energy savings, stormwater mitigation, and traffic calming. The annual value of benefits from Thunder Bay’s street trees is over $1.5 million, and for every dollar the City spends managing its 20,000 street trees, it recoups $2 in services.

Objectives:

A. By 2020 city tree and shrub canopy cover has increased to 30% (from 25% in 2012) within urban limits.

B. By 2020, the City of Thunder Bay has a more integrated approach to community planning (i.e. policies/procedures consistent with Official Plan (OP), UFMP, Urban Design Guidelines (UDG)).

C. By 2020, Thunder Bay’s citizens are actively engaged in Community Greening through new private-public partnerships, educational events, tree programs and social media.

D. By 2020, Thunder Bay’s natural areas and urban forests are comprised of a healthy and diverse mixture of flora and fauna that are resilient to the effects of climate change.

E. By 2020, trees planted by the City have adequate soil volume and quality to ensure the living green infrastructure’s full lifecycle, and associated ecosystem services, are achieved.

F. By 2020, the City’s urban forest section has developed official research partnerships with academic institutions such as Lakehead University and Confederation College, to create greater synergy between