On Feb. 26, town council moved ahead with its master plan for the ongoing Trout Pond project, opting for tree planting over the extension of the pathway that will run around the perimeter of the pond. Chris Eagan, director of planning, engineering and operations, took the lead on presenting the updated master plan to council.

“This particular version of the plan incorporates the feedback we got through the public consultation process and slightly varies from the previous plan that we’d presented as an interim adoption,” Eagan said. “The major changes to the plan are around removing, at least for now, the trail extension on the west side of the pond and increasing the volume and number of trees for both windbreaks and aesthetic purposes.”

Coun. Bekkering inquired about a multi-billion dollar federal tree planting program in which the government provides half the money required to plant trees through cost-sharing agreements. The program aims to tackle what the government calls a ‘twin crises’ of nature loss and climate change. The federal government has said it’s investing up to $3.2 billion over 10 years (2021-2031) to plant two billion new trees.

Eagan said the government has granted Taber $300,000 for the planting program. “This is for purchase and installation of trees, landscaping, education, and the irrigation infrastructure for the Trout Pond recreation area. The Town has some financial input with the program and implementation of the program. We have the master plan and will soon have a landscape design to provide us with clear direction on the planting program.”

The recreation department is leading the initiative, and there are two major components to the grant: “One was to physically plant trees and one was to increase our capacity in planting trees and managing urban forest,” Eagan said. “So with the master plan, we will now engage a landscape plan specifically for those 400 plus or minus trees that are related to this iteration of the grant. We’ll get those completed nd in the ground this summer.”

“The other thing that will happen is the capacity building which involves arborists training our staff in public works and recreation and engaging with different community groups, like schools, that can help us grow and maintain those particular trees.”

The conceptual master plan (pictured) is a visual of the potential features for the development as it moves through phases of construction over time. The plan is subject to change and capital budgets, and looks to incorporate day and group use areas, the campground, a walking and jogging path, and fishing. Council approved the master plan and moved that the project should proceed.

By Cal Braid, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Original Published on Mar 19, 2024 at 12:16

This item reprinted with permission from   The Taber Times   Taber, Alberta

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