Gillingham commits to defending, rising Winnipeg’s tree cover

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Scott Gillingham has become the latest mayoral candidate to sign a pledge to plant more trees in Winnipeg. 

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The “Trees Please Pledge” is one put together by a local group that asks mayoral and council candidates to commit to planting, maintaining and protecting city trees. 

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On Friday, Gillingham said in a release that the city’s Million-Tree Challenge has been successful by securing federal tree funding, and he would commit to building on that. 

Gillingham says he would set a seven-year pruning schedule for city-owned trees and establish a policy that for every public tree lost, the city should plant at least two new trees. The current St. James councillor would also require tree protection to be incorporated into construction projects and fully implement Winnipeg’s Urban Forest Strategy, which is being developed. 

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Gillingham would also launch a 10-day task force to find and remove barriers to volunteer tree planting if elected this fall. He says the goal is that by the 2026 Arbor Day weekend, 10,000 volunteers would be ready to plant trees.  

In 2023, Gillingham would ask other governments to work with the city to annually approve new public sites for volunteers to plant on. 

“I will also lobby the province for clear City-Utility protocols so Manitoba Hydro isn’t cutting down trees by surprise in our parks ever again,” he said. 

Gillingham would also contract for more space in private greenhouses by 2026 to add capacity for volunteer planting programs. 

Fellow mayoral candidates Shaun Loney, Rick Shone, Chris Clacio, Kevin Klein and Glen Murray have also signed the pledge. Jenny Motkaluk has not yet committed, according to Trees Please Winnipeg’s website. The organization has not yet met with the rest of the 14-candidate slate. 

Winnipeggers head to the polls on Oct. 26. 

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