Surrey is one of only 59 cities world-wide to be designated a “Tree City” by the United Nations, Mayor Doug McCallum revealed at Monday night’s council meeting.
It’s a “very prestigious” award for the City of Parks, he said.
“We needed to meet five core standards to be recognized as one of only 59,” McCallum explained. “And those five were, establish framework of responsibility that delegates responsibility of tree care in the city, two, establish bylaws and official policies that guide the management of city forests and trees, three, a comprehensive inventory of our city’s forests and trees, fourth, dedicated funding to support the implementation of Surrey’s forest and tree management plans, and fifth, annual celebrations of trees to raise awareness among residents.”
McCallum read aloud a United Nations press release has been issued across the globe that states, in part, “Together the mayors of these Tree Cities form a new global network of urban forest leaders that share the same values for city trees and forests.
“We are proud to recognize these cities for their actions towards healthier, greener places to live,” he read. “We applaud all of the cities that have earned Tree City designation. They are the leaders when it comes to planting and managing their urban forest. Many of the cities being recognized have gone above and beyond to use trees as part of their green infrastructure. This distinction is a celebration of their creativity and sustainability in creating healthier communities.”
“In addition to promoting efficient management of urban tree resources,” McCallum continued, “the Tree Cities of the World program also aims to create an international network of cities facilitating the sharing of knowledge and good practices towards sustainable management of urban forests and green spaces.”
McCallum said it’s a “tremendous award,” and thanked city staff, “especially in our Parks and Rec,” for “working to be able to meet the core values of being a Tree City in the world, when only 59 cities in the world got that designation.
“So to all staff that were involved over the years to manage and protect our forests and so forth, I really want to congratulate them for all the work that they’ve done,” he said.
During a public hearing earlier in the meeting Deb Jack, president of Surrey Environmental Partners, spoke to a rezoning application related to a three-lot subdivision in Cloverdale that if passed would see nine of 15 trees removed.
“They happen to be big-leaf maples, which are one of my favourites, anyway,” she said.
Surrey resident Annie Kaps also addressed council. “The replacement trees, in no way because of their stature, provide the same benefits to the atmosphere that mature trees do and the $3,200 to the Green City Fund no way, no way comes near to compensating the citizens of Surrey for the loss of what those trees give to the atmosphere,” Kaps said.
“It is just, in my looking at it, it’s just diabolical that they can take down these trees and not consider their true value to what it does to the atmosphere and the aesthetics of the area.”
Council passed third reading on the application, with Councillor Steven Pettigrew voting against.