Something new is taking root along Le Chenail Boulevard in Hawkesbury.

On October 18, downtown improvement agency COMZAC-BIA announced 50 trees would be planted along Le Chenail Boulevard, between John Street and Main Street.

“We finally have trees being planted in Hawkesbury,” remarked Mayor Paula Assaly at the announcement, held at Place des Pionniers.

“I’m very happy these trees are being planted,” said COMZAC-BIA President Lawrence Bogue.

The trees are being supplied by Tree Canada, a not-for-profit organization which promotes tree planting in urban and rural communities across the country. Tree Canada Community Agent Michael Rosen said more than 80 per cent of Canadians live in an urban forest.

“We have a very strong network of people who want to improve the urban forest,” Rosen said.

He explained how trees in urban areas benefit wildlife, and the physical and mental health of the community. Rosen said studies have shown trees in urban areas contribute to better health of residents, lead to less crime, and have even demonstrated how trees in business areas contribute to greater consumer spending.

Truck and trailer rental company U-Haul Canada is a major sponsor of Tree Canada, including the Hawkesbury project.

For the Hawkesbury planting project, tree species which can withstand the harsh conditions of urban environments – such as road salt – were selected, but an emphasis was also placed on selecting trees that will be attractive as they mature. The species selected are linden, honey locust, Japanese lilac, amur maple, and gingko.

Tuesday October 25 was planting day and the summer-like weather made it a perfect time to get the job done. Students from the Fran Vert environment club at École secondaire catholique régionale de Hawkesbury (ESCRH) led by teacher Gilles Trahan spent the afternoon planting the trees.

The total cost of the tree planting project, which included having buried utility cables and pipelines properly located, is about $20,000. Tree Canada contributed $10,000 to the initiative, with the rest of the project being funded by COMZAC-BIA. A plaque in recognition of the tree planting along Le Chenail Boulevard in Hawkesbury is also being added at the site.

A row of newly planted trees along Le Chenail Boulevard in Hawkesbury. Photo: James Morgan