Mississauga Council endorsed a Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy (NH&UFS) and an Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP). Together these long term plans guide how the City will protect, enhance, restore and expand its natural areas and urban forests as it continues to grow over the next 20 years. The plans apply to both public and private lands.
“The first and important step will be to update the City’s existing Official Plan policies to be in line with Region of Peel and Province of Ontario policies to clear the way and move forward on a number of our strategies,” said Parks and Forestry Director Laura Piette. “City staff will be consulting with property owners, other stakeholders and residents at a public meeting to be held in the next months before recommendations containing this public input are presented to the City’s Planning and Development Committee.”
Initiatives that require funding will be priorized through the City’s annual Corporate Business Plan and Budget Process.
“Mississauga’s urban forest is essential to the City’s environment, social and economic well-being,” said Piette. “The City reached out to a wide range of stakeholders including environmental and recreation groups, aboriginal and resident organizations and representatives from other levels of government, education, the forestry industry and utilities for input. The feedback has been very positive.”
Piette also acknowledged the active involvement of the Region of Peel, Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and Conservation Halton (CH) in developing the plans. Piette added, “We want to thank our community partners and look forward to continuing to work with them to implement these ambitious and achievable plans.”
The Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy (NH&UFS) outlines a total of 26 Strategies to meet objectives and targets. The strategies are organized in four themes: planning, management, engagement and tracking.
The Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) contains 30 Actions that support the Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy’s 26 strategies. Examples of actions include:
- Creating four-year management plans
- Annual operating plans
- Monitoring the status of both management and operating plans
- Improving the City’s street and park tree inventory
- Working with partners to expand the urban forest and
- Implementing an Urban Forest Pest Management Plan
- Increase awareness of the value and need to protect, enhance, expand and restore the natural heritage system and urban forest. This includes wetlands, watercourses, streetscapes, trees on private residential and business property, parks, wooded areas and open spaces.
- Expand the natural heritage system and urban forest through in-fill and redevelopment opportunities during the development application process and public land acquisition.
- Build on existing and develop new public and private sector partnerships to help implement the strategy vision and targets.
- Regularly monitor the natural heritage system and urban forest to identify trends and evaluate strategies so that management approaches and practices can be adapted.
- Increase size of natural heritage system from 9.5 per cent of the total city area to 12 to 14 per cent. A one per cent increase equals 292.4 ha or 723 acres.
- Reach of goal of 75 per cent of watercourses (rivers, ponds, lakes) to have vegetation for at least 30 m or 98 ft on either side. The current amount is 62 per cent.
- Substantially improve water and land quality across the city using 2013 data as a baseline.
- Increase the urban forest canopy from 15 per cent of total City area to 15 to 20 per cent.
For more information about the Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy (NH&UFS) and the Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP), see the City’s website at misissauga.ca/naturalheritage or contact Olav Sibille, Planner and project lead, Long Term Planning, Community Services Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-3200, Ext. 4943. Date, location and time of the Official Plan amendment public meeting will also posted on the website when the meeting date is confirmed.
As Canada’s sixth largest city, Mississauga is home to 741,000 residents and 55,000 businesses, including 63 Fortune 500 companies with Canadian head offices or major divisional head offices. A diverse, progressive and award-winning municipality located on the shores of Lake Ontario in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, Mississauga is “Leading Today for Tomorrow” by focussing on delivering services, implementing its Strategic Plan, delivering value for money and maintaining infrastructure.