Briefing ReTree YYC Program Curse


Briefing:ReTree YYC Program


The birth of the ReTree YYC Program can be traced back to the latesummer snowstorm of September 2014. This particular storm had adevastating effect on Calgary’s urban forest, where thousands oftrees were shredded or left broken by the heavy, wet snow [ CITATION Pla14 l 1033 ].According to city estimates, almost half of the half a million publictrees were affected by the storm, while a further 1.5 millionprivately-owned trees were impacted. The effect of the latter wasgreater since there were three times as many damaged trees on privateproperty as there was on public land. Hence the impetus for theReTree YYC Program, primarily aimed at cooperating and coordinatingwith citizens of Calgary to encourage proper planting and maintenanceof the city`s urban forest. Through this public-private partnership,it is the hope that future generations will find a city landscapemuch better than it currently is.

The program was structured in three phases, each of which marked astage in response to the 2014 snowstorm. The first phase wasscheduled to begin immediately after the snowstorm and should haveended in December of the same year. This is the Emergency Responsephase, whose main agenda was:

  • Restoring electricity to 74,000 households

  • Restoring 80 traffic signals

  • Finishing preliminary tree evaluations

  • Clearing debris from damaged trees

  • Responding to over 9,000 tree emergency service requests

The second phase was the recovery phase, scheduled for the periodbetween November 2014 and December 2015. The main agenda for thisphase was the corrective pruning of the trees so as to buildresiliency within them. This feat was to be accomplished through thefollowing actions:

  • Removal of damaged branches which could lead to disease and infestations

  • Flagging of trees to be pruned via the utilization of colored ribbons

  • Ascertaining that trees are balanced and can better withstand future weather events

The third phase of the project is the one currently prevailing. It isthe Restoration phase, scheduled for the period between Spring of2015 and this year’s Fall season. The primary purpose of this phasewas to remove and replant damaged trees, which would be accomplishedthrough completion of the following tasks:

  • Completion of the detailed tree evaluations

  • Use of removal notices to sign trees marked for removal

  • Removal of dead and dying trees

  • Public discourse to determine replanting of street trees

  • Planting of new trees

With regards to the planting of new trees, there has been anexcellent response from the community. Calgarians are not onlyplanting trees within their homes but also along the neighborhoodstreets. The ReTree FFC program is implemented on two fronts publicand private. On the public facet, the city partners with variouscommunity members to carry out the program on public areas withintheir neighborhoods. This partnership is exemplified by the earliermentioned effort by citizens to plant trees along their neighborhoodstreets. On the private front, the city partners with homeowners,enabling them to plant the appropriate trees within their privatecompounds. For instance, mulch to be used in tree planting isprovided free to Calgary residents.

The program has recently incorporated various technological aspects,such as an online training platform, and a mobile application thatallows users to submit any tree concerns. The success of the programso far has encouraged the City Council to consider extending theproject purview and making it a continuous process. Despite the nobleintention of this program, some city residents are opposed to theplanting of new trees citing fear of an increase in crime, amongstother reasons [ CITATION And16 l 1033 ].


Anderson, D. (2016, September 5). Brentwood residents angry that city is trying to plant trees in local park. Retrieved from CBC News:

Platt, M. (2014, September 10). Extent of Calgary`s tree deaths from snowfall may not be known until spring. Calgary Sun.