The Urban Canopy Project in Niverville is now in its fourth year.

In 2020, Communities in Bloom Niverville was approached by a resident of the town, who is also an employee of Trans Canada Energy (TCE), to see if they were interested putting together a group of volunteers to help plant trees in their town and TCE would provide the funding.

In 2021, Niverville was awarded the title of fastest growing community in Manitoba and so, with the town spreading out to the east and west of the railroad tracks, came the need for trees in the newest residential subdivisions.

Shirley Hoult says they formed a tree planting group of Niverville residents, with people joining in over the years.

Now in 2024, the agreement between Communities in Bloom Niverville and TCE continues. Hoult notes that this year they will be getting $7,500, which is generally enough for about 60 trees.

She says their volunteers organize everything. “We make sure the trees are ordered and delivered on time. We make sure the residents receive communications explaining the program, encouraging participation and then just making sure everything runs smoothly on planting day.”

When it comes to the distribution of the trees, Hoult says, “We encourage residents to put their names forward and then we review whether or not the location is with the town operations, and whether or not it's even doable as far as sidewalks and location, etcetera, and if there are any other concerns.”

Hoult says then once the locations have been decided we assign a ‘street champion’ and the program runs from there. She notes that before a tree is planted, the utility companies need to mark their lines and each homeowner signs a waiver.

"And then stakes are placed on the property, lined up with the other trees being planted so that there will give a good street view.”

Hoult says volunteers were out this week placing the stakes with the name of the tree marked on it. Thursday, town operations dug the holes at the location of the stakes and dropped off soil and mulch.

“And then on Saturday, we deliver trees to the residents and the volunteers assist those residents to plant the trees.”

Hoult adds that the residents are asked to plant their tree along with a Communities in Bloom volunteer. “We just move along the street and give advice and recommendations on how to best plant the tree to give it the best opportunity for survival long term survival” 

Hoult says four years ago they took a drive through Niverville and noticed that the middle of town had a lot of trees because it’s an older area. “But the newer areas were lacking an urban canopy, and that's where we focused. So, we've done three streets in the Highlands and probably 5 or 6 streets in 5th Avenue Estates.”

When asked how long this program would continue, Hoult says, “it is subject to ongoing funding from Trans Canada Energy. If they're able to provide the funding, we will plant trees.” In the past four years, TCE has provided $32,000 in funding to the town of Niverville's Urban Canopy Project.

On Saturday, trees will also be planted in the towns Memorial Forest in the southwest area of Hespeler Park and at the Niverville Dog Park.

Hoult adds there is another Communities in Bloom town beautification project underway, the Mosaic Tile Wall project.

She encourages town residents to sign up to paint their personally designed tile on either the June 1 or June 4 dates.

Hoult says people need to pre-register. She tells us why no drop-ins will be permitted. “Because we have to pay for the supplies to be brought in. Registration is open on the town of Niverville events page. Cost is $10 which covers the cost of the tile glazes, brush and the installation cement. We've got two glazing sessions being offered.”

She adds that residents can sign up for a midday time slot on Saturday, June 1 from 9am to 3pm or for in evening on June 4 between 4pm and 9pm.

Hoult says they would love to see more residents sign up. “We already have about 110 right now, so yeah, interest is growing. I think once everybody sees the vibrancy of the tiles that have been designed, it may encourage more participants.”