By Erika Mathieu
Westwind Weekly News
The Town of Magrath has sent off a major grant application which, if approved, would allow the Town to move forward with a tree planting project.
The 2021 federal budget announced $200 million to establish the Natural Infrastructure Fund (NIF) for project across the country.
An approved grant would see 80 per cent of the project cost funded through the NIF, witgh the remaining 20 per cent funded by the municipality.
Previously, the Town said they would commit up to $30,000 to the project which has been estimated, in the early stages, to cost approximately $150,000 total and would fill in some of the prairie landscape with trees.
“From what we could tell, it would cost $20k for trees and $20,000 for irrigation lines, probably $20k for benches and tables to go along that road and then about $100k for labour,” explained James Suffredine, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Magrath. The estimated project cost includes the cost of irrigation to trees, as well, should the grant be approved, and the Town’s contribution would be taken from the Town’s capital budget.
The grant would be used to plant a treeline along the north side of town. If the town’s grant application is successful, the impact won’t be immediately noticeable. It would take at least 10 or 15 years of growth before the natural infrastructure would be substantial enough to become a factor in attracting new residents to the area, particularly as trees grow to line walking trails.
Magrath is the second windiest area in all of Canada which Suffredine said was a factor highlighted by administration in the application.
“By having the treeline and doing it will go a long way to the future prevention of damaging winds,” and noted the proposed tree line is out of the way of existing properties, to ensure if the trees were damaged by extreme winds or weather nearby property could potentially mitigate property damage.
Although the project isn’t at the top of the Town’s priority list, the treeline would, “be a natural, significant project for the town, to have 4-500 towering 100 foot trees out along the front is significant.”
It was also noted the goal timeline for the project would be to begin in April of 2023,
Suffredine also noted, with respect to the national infrastructure grant, the Town of Raymond has opted not to apply for the grant. “Maybe that makes our application for southern Alberta, a bit more attractive,” and added administration submitted a strong application, but the timeline for approval is not yet confirmed.