Mahone Bay hopes to branch out for next year’s centennial celebration

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>KEITH CORCORAN PHOTO</p><p>Valerie Hearder to town council: &#8220;Our group generated many ideas for interesting, productive and educational activities intended to protect, promote and enhance Mahone Bay&#8217;s tree heritage.&#8221;</p>

An ad-hoc committee of Mahone Bay residents planted a seed with local civic politicians to think about celebrating next year's centennial with a town-wide tree program.

"As a highlight of the year we envision the town hosting a ceremonial tree-planting event. This is an ancient way to commemorate historic milestones, as well as a Canadian tradition so it seems a fitting one," said Valerie Hearder, a committee member, speaking to a recent council meeting about the so-called centennial celebration of trees.

"This proposal is about trees and arises from many discussions about community-building, sustainability and beautification of Mahone Bay," Hearder said during her 12-minute presentation.

"Our group generated many ideas for interesting, productive and educational activities intended to protect, promote and enhance Mahone Bay's tree heritage."

March 31, 2019 marks the 100th birthday of Mahone Bay's incorporation.

Hearder said the group proposes a series of events with the major highlight a commemorative tree planting ceremony on National Tree Day (September 26). Hearder said it could be one tree or several in different locations throughout town.

The committee also proposes spending on an annual re-planting program aimed at town-owned properties.

"Simply put, more roots in the earth means an increased carbon sink, better resilience from potential flooding, wind breaks, summer cooling, and beautification of the community," Hearder told council.

The committee's proposal also mentions encouraging private property owners to plant and replace trees.

Hearder also outlined ideas such as a mass planting of a specific species of trees and establishing a policy to encourage and support the integration of trees into the beauty and self-sufficiency of the town.

The committee provided a series of budget estimates in support of their ideas.

Town council talked about the committee's request in terms of logistics and as part of a larger centennial celebration. The discussion took place the following day when council approved the operating and capital budget.

The town agreed to earmark $2,000 for the centennial and will get staff to research placement, purchase and care of different trees as well as look into possible additional funding sources to mark the event in 2019.

Hearder told council the committee has bandied about many ideas, such as a memorial program that would see the town plant a tree in memory of a loved one or event as well as an arrangement to install plaques to identify heritage trees and native species. They've also talked about walk-and-talk or orienteering activities to draw attention to the program.

Mayor David Devenne commented that the committee's ideas are good and hopes townspeople get involved.

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