Oak Bay plants new program for National Tree Day

Tree canopy grows from final wishes of community association founder

There are two solutions to solving the climate crisis, stop polluting, and plant a lot of trees.

The Community Association of Oak Bay has partnered with Oak Bay’s department of Parks Recreation and Culture with a goal to plant 5,000 trees on private property by 2045. That would enhance the Oak Bay canopy cover by 40 per cent.

To start, the community association and District have created Grow the Oaks in Oak Bay program. They are launching it in conjunction with National Tree Day on Sept. 25.

The first 50 homeowners to register can get a Garry oak for just $50. Otherwise, the fund will match a homeowner’s $100 donation. It was inspired in part by the death of Jill Croft, who succumbed to cancer last November. She co-founded of the Community Association of Oak Bay with her husband, former Oak Bay councillor Tom Croft, in 2008. The campaign is part of the Jill Croft Memorial Urban Forest Legacy Fund, which has almost raised $6,000 already.

READ MORE: Over than two dozen Garry oaks planted in Oak Bay

“When she was ill, we revisited her will and there was a request to plant a tree for each year of her life, which is 71,” Croft said. “I said, ‘Well, let’s start with 12.’”

But once the community association learned of this, it took action, with a goal of hitting 71, and then some.

“We have enough money right now to plant 60,” said fellow community association member Rick Marshall.

It’s not quite at the same level as the City of Victoria, which just committed to planting 5,000 trees by the end of 2020 as part of a global campaign launched by the United Nations. Nor is Oak Bay at the same level in terms of municipal resources.

The Grow the Oaks in Oak Bay program is patterned after the successful LEAF program (local enhancement and appreciation of forests) which helps property owners in Toronto, Ajax and the York Region to plant native trees and shrubs at a subsidized price. Likewise, the Grow the Oaks in Oak Bay is a sweet deal. You can’t just walk into a local garden store or nursery and find six-foot tall Garry oaks ready to plant.

READ MORE: Victoria takes up United Nations challenge to plant 5,000 trees by 2020

“When you do find potted or young Garry oaks at this stage, they are not cheap,” said Oak Bay Manager of Parks Services Chris Hyde-Lay. “We were lucky to get these Garry oaks from a nursery closing in Duncan.”

In fact, because of Garry oak trees’ resilience, they are projected to be among the better adapted species for the coming warming and droughts that Vancouver Island will soon know as normal. Because of that, Hyde-Lay anticipates an increase in demand for Garry oaks specifically.

At the moment, the Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society is also working hard, planting thousands of Garry oak acorns per year and making those young Garry oaks available to municipalities.

Oak Bay is famous for its tree canopy, which is a challenge to retain despite new standards in development and tree removal permits. In 2018, 77 trees were removed while 117 were planted, resulting in a net gain of 40 trees.

To get a Garry oak in your yard, contact Hyde-Lay at chyde-lay@oakbay.ca or by phone at 250-592-7275. To donate to the Jill Croft Memorial Urban Forest Legacy Fund, visit www.caob.ca or contact oakbayconnector@gmail.com.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dog dies, Victoria man arrested after incident in Oaklands

Police called to ‘incident between a man and a dog’ Monday afternoon

Booms go up in Gorge Creek after hydrocarbon spill

The source of the spill is being investigated

Supreme Court determines bext phase of Victoria’s plastic bag ban on Thursday

The Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether or not it will hear the appeal

Put away the shovels, week of rain ahead for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada calling for wet weather until Sunday

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: Study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

VIDEO: Greater Victoria mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

Skier dies at Fernie Alpine Resort

It’s the second person to die in a tree well at a ski resort in B.C. in the past week.

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Vancouver Island home to one of Canada’s largest private skateboard collections

Eric Pinto owns hundreds of boards, spanning multiple decades

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Surrey’s ‘Pink Palace’ being used for Stephen King horror shoot

New web series based on King’s The Stand novel

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

Most Read