• Lauren Mitchell

Community of St. Lazare comes together for the annual tree planting


PHOTO BY LAUREN MITCHELL

As part of its fifth annual tree planting event, St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo (third from left) and Soulanges MNA Lucie Charlebois (third from right) were joined by municipal councillors and area residents last September 13 to plant a total of 63 assorted trees.

Pouring rain didn’t deter the spirits of the many dedicated volunteers who showed up on Saturday, September 13, to help St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo and Soulanges MNA Lucie Charlebois to help plant 63 trees in the Base de Plein Air area. “The point of the project is to plant new trees every year,” said St. Lazare communications agent Valérie StAmant.

“This project is all thanks to Lucie Charlebois, who donates $1000 every year in order for us to be able to plant the trees. Every year we choose a different park in St. Lazare, usually a place that is lacking trees, and the trees can provide shade for people who are in the park. We invite the citizens to join us every year.” The project is meant to bring the community together, allowing citizens to bond over an ecological project that will benefit the parks of the city.

The annual tree planting in parks has been ongoing nationally since 1997, with the city of St. Lazare getting on board five years ago. Charlebois said she believes in the dedication the town shows when planting these trees. “Every municipality chooses a tree that will represent their territory,” she said. “For St. Lazare, it is the White Pine tree. Fifteen municipalities started with the plantation, but now there are only five. St. Lazare is a good one, because they take it seriously.”

The municipality grows in population every year, which means that more and more trees are getting cut down. The mayor said he believes the project is a small step forward to getting some of the trees back that they have lost. Trees planted in this year’s initiative included six Red Maples, six Sugar Maples, two Black Walnut trees, 11 White Pines, 11 White Spruce, and 27 cedars. “We take our tree planting in St. Lazare very seriously,” said Grimaudo.

“The problem is that we cut down a lot of trees, which is normal because we’re building homes and bringing in streets. Trees get cut down in the process but it is as important to plant as it is to conserve,” he said adding he wants to increase the tree-planting budget for 2015. The best time of the year to plant these types of trees is during the fall since their survival rate will be much higher than any other season, but it doesn’t stop the team from planting trees during the spring. “In the spring, we give away over a thousand trees to citizens to have them plant them in their yards,” said Grimaudo.

“But since they are saplings, they only have a 50 per cent survival rate, but it’s better than not planting anything at all.” The town council is hoping that with the projected budget increase, the next plantation will foster a greater awareness, have more volunteers and, hopefully, better weather.

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