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Street Tree Replacement Begins
(Wednesday, May 19/2004)-- HRM officials say it will take at least five years to replace the approximate 4,000 street-side trees downed or irreparably damaged by Hurricane Juan. Only park trees and shrubs in landscaped areas are covered under the federal Disaster Relief program, so replacement trees for those damaged along street-side must be funded through the municipality's annual operating budgets.
"Last fall's hurricane resulted in the most significant damage to our urban canopy since the Halifax Explosion of 1917. Recovering from such extensive damage will take a number of years because we simply can't afford to replace 4,000 trees in one season," says Peter Bigelow, HRM's Manager of Real Property Planning.
HRM plans to replace 500 street trees this season-- 250 will be planted this spring and the remaining 250 in the fall. The replacement trees will be spread in areas throughout the municipality, but those hardest hit by the hurricane will be getting more attention. Professional urban forestry staff are matching appropriate tree species to site specific conditions to maximize potential for canopy replacement and minimize potential infrastructure conflicts.
The municipality has taken delivery of trees for the spring planting season, and crews are beginning the replacement program this week. HRM requests homeowners to help maintain the newly-planted street trees by providing periodic watering and monitoring the trees to ensure they remain in good health.
"While replacing the downed or badly damaged trees will take some time, the clean-up of what was left behind will be finished within the next 12 months. Sites where stumps were pulled out last fall will receive topsoil and turf in the next few months. Remaining stumps will be pulled out over time," Mr. Bigelow said.
Public Works and Transportation staff are now preparing a tender to sod and topsoil the areas where Juan-related tree stumps were removed between the curb and sidewalk. This effort will involve removal of gravel used to temporally fill in holes left by stumps prior to the onset of winter and replacement with topsoil to create a tree pit able to sustain new trees when they are replanted over the course of the tree replacement program. Re-sodding will also involve repair of the minor damage to lawns on the opposite side of the sidewalk caused by sidewalk heaving and removal.
Manager, Real Property Planning
Corporate Communications Officer