Town of Milton to give income tax receipt to residents who donate funds for tree replacement and planting, at Challinor’s request
The emerald ash borer devastated the Town of Milton’s inventory of ash trees in 2015, 2016 and 2017, such that the Town could not afford to replace all of them in a timely fashion.
At that time, I had reached out to the Town to suggest that it investigate the feasibility of establishing a program that encouraged commercial and residential taxpayers to help fund the replacement of trees on Town boulevard, park and ravine property in exchange for a tax receipt. I didn’t receive a response. So, in March 2019, I brought forward a motion to Milton Council formally requesting that staff look into such a program by May 30, 2019, and report back to Council with a recommendation. That motion was seconded by Milton Ward 2 Regional Councillor Rick Malboeuf and was supported by all members of Council. Staff came back to Council in late May recommending the establishment of such a program, which was fully endorsed by Council. An income tax receipt will now be given to anyone who donates the funds to plant a tree in Milton.
As background, as the biggest plants on earth, trees give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilize the soil and give life to the world’s wildlife. They also provide shelter. Not only are trees essential for life, but as the longest living species on earth, they give us a link between the past, present and future. The canopies of trees act as a physical filter, trapping dust and absorbing pollutants from the air. Each individual tree removes up to 1.7 kilos of dust and pollutants every year. They also provide shade from solar radiation and reduce noise. Research shows that within minutes of being surrounded by trees and green space, your blood pressure drops, your heart rate slows and your stress levels come down. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow and the carbon that they store in their wood helps slow the rate of global warming. They reduce wind speeds and cool the air as they lose moisture and reflect heat upwards from their leaves. It’s estimated that trees can reduce the temperature in a city by up to 7°C.Trees also help prevent flooding and soil erosion, absorbing thousands of litres of stormwater. Trees strengthen the distinctive character of a community and encourage local pride. Urban woodland can be used as an educational resource and to bring groups together for activities like walking and bird-watching.
Trees are also invaluable for children to play in and discover their sense of adventure. People are attracted to live, work and invest in green surroundings. Research shows that average house prices are 5 to 18% higher when properties are close to mature trees. Companies benefit from a healthier, happier workforce if there are parks and trees nearby. Soon, for the first time in history, the number of people with homes in cities will outstrip those living in the countryside. Parks and trees will become an even more vital component of urban life. CR