Priority given to biodiversity and the fight against heat islands
SAINT-LAURENT, Aug. 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Hundreds of saplings have found new
homes today as Saint-Laurent, to mark the launch of its Urban Forestry Plan,
distributed young trees to visitors at Borough Hall.
The Mayor of Saint-Laurent, Alan DeSousa, addressed more than 50 guests
who had gathered in the Borough Council Room for the event. The Mayor
announced the creation of the program Une naissance, un arbre (One Birth, One
Tree), whereby a tree will be planted in the borough to mark the birth of a
new baby to a Saint-Laurent family. "What could be more natural than
celebrating a birth by planting a tree?" stated Mayor DeSousa. "Indeed, this
practice is already a tradition among certain families. We believe that this
initiative is a tangible demonstration of our desire to make our citizens
active participants in the Forestry Plan." The program's terms and conditions
will be defined between now and the spring of 2010.
The Mayor also noted that the adoption of the Urban Forestry Plan would
be accompanied by the funding necessary to its implementation. "In 2009, we
budgeted $500,000 for tree planting in Saint-Laurent. That said, we're
announcing today that we are committed to maintaining the same level of
funding for 2010 and 2011. In total, therefore, we're investing $1.5 million
over three years in greening initiatives for Saint-Laurent. We know that trees
are essential for their beneficial effects on air quality and on our
well-being. In the long term, we're banking on the development of our arboreal
wealth to offer the best life possible to the citizens of Saint-Laurent."
Biodiversity: Saint-Laurent leads the way
Taking advantage of the fact that the United Nations has designated 2010
as International Year of Biodiversity, Saint-Laurent has also chosen to break
new ground by becoming the first Montréal borough to put biodiversity at the
centre of its greening strategy.
Present at the launch of the Urban Forestry Plan was the Executive
Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ahmed Djoghlaf. Mr.
Djoghlaf said he was delighted that Saint-Laurent would be taking action to
improve and protect biodiversity in its territory, stating that "The
International Year of Biodiversity is a unique opportunity to raise awareness
of the vital role that biodiversity plays in protecting life on Earth.
Throughout 2010, citizens and governments around the world will mobilize and
make a collective effort aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of
biodiversity so that all of us can share in its benefits. I applaud
Saint-Laurent for already embarking on this path and I invite the other
Montréal boroughs and municipalities throughout Quebec to follow the same
The battle against heat islands
Over and above its commitment to biodiversity, Saint-Laurent's Urban
Forestry Plan reiterates the Administration of Saint-Laurent's determination
to battle against heat islands, an especially acute phenomenon in
Saint-Laurent owing to the borough's industrial vocation. As such, the Borough
of Saint-Laurent has confirmed that it will continue its association with the
Conseil régional de l'environnement de Montréal (CRE-Montréal) in the fight
against heat islands for at least three years.
"Planting trees is the best way of countering the effects of heat islands
and beautifying our neighbourhoods," said André Porlier, Executive Director of
CRE-Montréal. "The pilot project launched in 2008 showed that there was
enormous potential for planting trees on companies' private land, and we will
be pleased to continue working with Saint-Laurent over the next few years on
the greening of the borough's industrial park and high-density commercial
Response to the Tree Policy of Montréal
The outcome of more than two years of work, the Urban Forestry Plan
establishes Saint-Laurent's intention to firmly put trees at the heart of all
decisions and to give trees their rightful place. By endowing itself with a
tree plan, Saint-Laurent is the first Montréal borough to respond to Action 1
contained in the Tree Policy of Montréal, adopted in 2005. The Urban Forestry
Plan is scheduled to be adopted at the Borough Council meeting on September 1.
The objectives of Saint-Laurent's Urban Forestry Plan are included in the
terms of reference for sustainable development, adopted by Saint-Laurent
Council this past July.
The Urban Forestry Plan may be consulted online at
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