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City of Victoria's trees valued at $80 million

Boulevard trees along Vancouver Street are among the more than 150,000 trees in the City of Victoria. City staff want to map the resource to help manage the urban forest. - Don Descoteau/News staff
Boulevard trees along Vancouver Street are among the more than 150,000 trees in the City of Victoria. City staff want to map the resource to help manage the urban forest.
— image credit: Don Descoteau/News staff

The City of Victoria wants to build a digital map of the 150,000 trees within its borders.

The initiative, part of the city’s Urban Forest Master Plan, was among the highlights presented to city councillors sitting Thursday as the governance and priorities committee.

The plan, which was endorsed by council, aims to help frame urban forest strategies through 2060.

With the average tree valued at $2,000 and roughly 40,000 trees owned by the city, the parks department holds responsibility for an estimated $80-million resource, according to a staff report compiled by assistant parks director David Speed.

The city’s urban forest has evolved in a haphazard manner for the past 150 years, Speed wrote.

The result is a cross-section of native vegetation, mature residential trees and shrubs, exotic species planted on city and private property, municipal trees planted for beautification, and plantings associated with new developments.

Among other goals, the master plan will provide a comprehensive strategy to create greenways and respond to climate change, as well as introduce more fruit and nut trees to address food security.

The plan does not call for an increase to the $1 million currently allotted to tree management for at least the next decade.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

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