New Westminster is one of 20 cities in North America that’s received a grant to help green the community.
The City of New Westminster has received a $25,000 TD Green Space Grant from TD Bank Group and the Arbor Day Foundation to support innovative urban greening and tree planting projects in underserved communities.
New Westminster has invested the grant into the Brow of the Hill neighbourhood to plant 50 new street trees and provide more equitable access to the greenspace at 1009 Cornwall St. The trees, which include a mix of large maturing species, not only enhance the esthetic environment, but also increase shade cooling, storm water retention and pollinator benefits to the neighbourhood.
"Green spaces play a critical role in creating more vibrant and livable cities. Not only do they provide environmental benefits, but they also provide social, health and economic benefits to cities and the people within them," Andrea Barrack, TD’s global head of sustainability and corporate citizenship, said in a news release. "We are proud to work with the Arbor Day Foundation to support innovative community programs in cities, including New Westminster, that are striving to create a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow."
In 2019, the City of New Westminster purchased the vacant site at 1009 Cornwall St. for use as a pocket park. The purchase came after more than 700 residents signed a petition urging the city to buy the property and to use it to help address the lack of greenspace and trees in the Brow of the Hill neighbourhood.
A year earlier, the Brow of the Hill Residents’ Association expressed concern about the lack of street trees in the neighbourhood and asked the city to plant 1,000 trees in Brow of the Hill in the next 10 years.
A press release from the city noted the latest project contributes directly to the City of New Westminster’s Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action. Specifically, it advances Bold Step #6, which is increasing the urban forest canopy, and Bold Step #7, which is creating a people-centred public realm.
In addition to a new pedestrian crossing across 10th Street at Cornwall Street, which will help connect residents to the park, the grant is funding new planters (planted with the help of neighbourhood volunteers) that will also contribute to streetscape beautification and support local pollinators.
“Enhancing access to local parks and planting street trees have a large role to play in connecting people to nature and improving biodiversity across our city,” Mayor Jonathan Cote said in the press release. “The TD re-greening grant has enabled the City of New Westminster to provide better connections to the greenspace in the Brow of the Hill neighbourhood and increase the number of street trees in the area. This is one of the many initiatives that have helped advance our Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action.”
In addition to the TD Bank Group, the initiative is supported by the Arbor Day Foundation, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. Its vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues faced today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger.
“Our goal with this grant program is to help communities not only enrich their green spaces but also enrich lives,” Arbor Day Foundation president Dan Lambe said in the news release. “We are supporting New Westminster in its effort to build awareness about the benefits of trees, educate residents on proper tree care, and lay the groundwork for a greener future.”