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How London prepares to deal with its trees.

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lfpress.com | Aug 28th 2012 10:44 AM
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We’re not worthy — we want that Forest City title, but don’t think we deserve it.

That’s one of the early root findings of a city survey of Londoners about trees.

“One of the questions is, Do we want to be known as the Forest City in the future?” says Sara Rowland, the city’s urban forestry planner.

The answer seems to be yes, with Londoners even willing to put their money where their mouths are to live up to the city’s forest nickname.

More than half the respondents so far in the survey, which continues online until Friday, say they’d support a bylaw to protect trees on private property.

Most would also be willing to pay more in taxes to cover that.

With more than 4.4 million trees, London’s tree cover is about 24%. That might sound good, but it’s less than some other cities that don’t trade on the tree moniker.

The survey suggests Londoners, overwhelmingly, don’t believe there are enough trees in parking lots, along shopping streets, in new residential areas or in commercial and industrial zones.

And, far from just checking off answers to rote questions, respondents have branched out with ideas of their own.

With trees, city policy has often been more stick than carrot. Someone suggested switching that around.

One idea was to offer an incentive to keep trees on private property, Rowland says.

“If you promise to maintain trees on your property, if you already have good trees on your property, you’ll get a discount on your property taxes — that might be something,” Rowland notes.

Another idea is to have more trees around athletic fields, offering more shade for soccer moms and dads.

“It’s little things like that. We can’t be relied upon to think of everything,” Rowland says.

“We have to have people prompting us and saying, ‘You know what? This is under-performing here. This is where I want to see trees.

“Why haven’t we done that before? Why on Earth have we not already got 34-year-old trees around our soccer pitches?”

THE SURVEY

EARLY FINDINGS

  • 74%: Don’t believe London has enough trees to call itself the Forest City.
  • 83%: Believe the Forest City should be London’s nickname.
  • 0.8% (13 people): Say London has too many trees.
  • 61%: Say there are less trees than they’d like.
  • 55%: Support or strongly support a bylaw to protect trees on private property.
  • 64%: Would support paying for such a bylaw.

WHAT’S NEXT

  • Survey results, together with research on the state of the city’s trees, will be compiled and a plan to reach tree goals created.
  • A draft report will go to an advisory committee around October.
  • Public will be consulted on the plan.
  • Final report expected to reach city council early next year.
  • We’re not worthy — we want that Forest City title, but don’t think we deserve it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 10:44:11 EDT PM

Original Page: http://www.lfpress.com/2012/08/28/londoners-cant-see-the-forest-for-the-trees

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Written by vaphc

August 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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