Home Opinion Tree challenge sprucing up the community (column)
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Nov 15, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

Tree challenge sprucing up the community (column)

London Community News

The Westminster Park area of the ward will be spruced up thanks to the Million Tree Challenge. A $50,000 neighbourhood park enhancement was awarded to the Neighbourhood Resource Association of Westminster Park (NRAWP) thanks to the community’s belief in the value of trees in the Forest City. “It’s wonderful,” said Kelly Clark-Emery, who is in charge of community development and volunteer services for NRAWP. She said the challenge got neighbours working together to plant trees on their properties and the community really got excited about the idea. Once the area is beautified with the enhancements, it will be a boost to the community and help get people outdoors, she said. “It’s something to bring out more people to be more physically active.” The Million Tree Challenge is an innovative project to get Londoners to plant one million trees in the next decade. Its three-year goal, which started last year, is to plant one tree for every London resident. The challenge is an initiative of ReForest London and the City of London. Clark-Emery said NRAWP held community events, such as the celebration of the arts in September and ReForest London would bring trees to these events for the public to take home and plant on residential properties. Tree species included Red Maple, Silver Birch and Oak. Alana Dalby, the project co-ordinator of the Healthy Eating and Healthy Physical Activity unit, took up the challenge and brought it to the residents. She sent out emails to the public to promote the Million Tree Challenge. The Westminster Working Group jumped on the initiative and came together to get the project going in the ward. “They were the ones to do the work,” Clark-Emery said. The working group will now be deciding how the grant money will be used and where. She said the residents were really keen to be part of this environmental project that has so many positives and to be able to beautify their properties at the same time for free. To support the project, I took on the challenge in the spring of going head-to-head with Coun. Bud Polhill in Ward 1 to see which ward can plant the most trees by the end of this year. I asked NRAWP if they would take 100 trees as a final effort at the Westminster Art in the Park event and they stepped up to the plate. In fact all 100 trees were gone in no time. NRAWP’s efforts are certainly helping our ward challenge and making this area more beautiful and healthy. Congratulations to everyone involved in getting the $50,000 grant. Other ways we can enhance our community is through the ReThink projects. Just as the City of London has launched ReThink London, an initiative to set the goals and priorities for London in the coming years, I am doing the same work in Ward 14. Our ward ReThink has just been launched and I’d like to hear from you. Please let me know what you’d like our ward to look like in the coming years. We must plan now to ensure Ward 14 continues to be a thriving, beautiful part of the city that contributes to the overall appeal of London. It will also look at how we fit into the wider city. If you’d like to learn more about the ReThink project, visit www.rethinklondon.ca. Sandy White, councillor for Ward 14, can be reached at sawhite@london.ca or 226-688-9427.

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