• John Jantak

Green – and red – incentives offered to St. Lazare residents May 18


In encouraging residents to contribute to the canopy of the area, the Town of Saint-Lazare is promoting the planting of trees by offering free tree seedlings to its residents in celebration of Arbour Day and free strawberry plants May 18, while supplies last.

St. Lazare residents are invited to pick up free tree seedlings and a strawberry plant for each member of the family while supplies last to celebrate Arbour Day and the official opening of the Farmers’ Market. The combined event will take place in the parking lot of Parc Bédard, 1591 Avenue Bédard, from 3 to 7 p.m., this Friday, May 18.

This year’s event marks the 14th year that Arbour Day is being celebrated and highlights the importance that the environment and trees play within the community. “It’s a great event,” said Mayor Robert Grimaudo. “We give away a lot of trees every year. I invite all St. Lazare residents to come and grab a tree if they can. They will go quickly.”

Conservation and development

The town strives to maintain it green canopy and does its best to balance its conservation efforts with development needs, said Grimaudo. “We are a community that takes our environment very seriously,” he told The Journal.

“Unfortunately, we have to cut down trees when developers open a road or build housing projects. We have a conservation plan to protect a majority of the forest but there are trees that have to come down,” said Grimaudo.

The town’s determination to try to preserve as much of its greenery as possible in one reason why Arbour Day is so important for the municipality, said Grimaudo. “It’s part of the mentality in St. Lazare. We’ve fostered a will to care for our environment and protect our trees,” he said.

“Unfortunately we can’t stop development as much as we would like to sometimes. The reality is that Arbour Day is way of showing what we’re able to do for the environment. People take their trees very seriously here on both extremes of the spectrum. Trees will always be an issue in St. Lazare. It seems to be a part of our heritage,” said Grimaudo.

Arbour Day

The Arbour Day celebration has become an annual spring ritual for the town, said Communications Director Geneviève Hamel. St. Lazare is one of several municipalities that receives the trees from provincial Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.

“The Ministry distributes them to all municipalities and non-profit organizations that make a request. They evaluate all the requests and then send out the trees. We never know from one year to the next how many trees we’re going to get. This year we’re only getting 650 trees to distribute,” said Hamel.

Farmers’ Market

The tie-in to distribute the trees with the opening of the Farmer’s Market in recent years has increased interest among citizens, said Hamel. “It’s been a success every year.”

The town decided to make Arbour Day a little sweeter this year by including free strawberry plants as an incentive to entice more people to participate. “This should help to raise interest. A lot of people are into urban agriculture and more people are planting community gardens. There will be 600 strawberry plants available. It’s the town that purchases them for distribution,” said Hamel.