Fleet To The Trees
Robert Macpherson

 “Imagine a machine that uses solar energy to remove carbon from the air and turns it into a beautiful, strong and sustainable building material.

Oh wait …. That’s what trees are.”     

During a discussion with the Superintendent of Parks I noticed the above quote on her wall.

As a mechanic for 25 years and now the Superintendent of Fleet, I have never thought of a tree as a machine, but now I perceived a tree the same as I would an engine or cabin air filter.

So from this quote the idea was conceived that as we put out a vehicle tender, the bidder would be required to supply a set amount of trees in accordance with the capital value of the project.

The trees would have the life cycle expectancy matching the vehicle they were tendered with and would continue to be included in the vehicle replacement cycle making it a sustainable resource for our Town.

Further discussions with the Superintendent of Parks on the feasibility of such a project brought much excitement as they have been looking to create mini “Carbon Sinks” in our current parks.

This feature calls for trees, shrubs and other plant material to be planted in way to mimic a natural forested area that can increase local biodiversity, improve air quality, create habitat for wildlife and provide shade in our parks.  The carbon sink forest will help in reducing maintenance to the parks due to no grass trimming involved, with the additional benefit of capturing its own leaves trapping carbon and reducing the need for leaf collection in the fall.  The carbon sink can also be utilized for the other tree leaves in the park to be stored, decomposed and add nutrients to the area.

We know that one tree cannot take in all the emissions of one truck but this is a very positive step in the right direction for the environment and beautification of parks while having little to zero impact on the tax payer.

With a plan in place I approached our Town of Whitby Commissioner of Public Works for her thoughts and support.  She was all in favour and took the idea to the Town’s Senior Leadership Team where it was also well received.

So our first tender will be going out with such a requirement with the support of Whitby Fire and Emergency Services and is scheduled for April 2018.

I have no doubt bidders will also welcome such a program as it allows them to be part of GHG reduction also.