Valley communities use BC Hydro grant to plant trees

Things will get a little greener in three Columbia Valley communities

Things will get a little greener in three Columbia Valley communities, with trees coming to or having already arrived in Radium Hot Springs, Invermere and Windermere through a BC Hydro grant.

The company has provided $13,700 for tree planting initiatives this year in the Upper Columbia Valley through its community regreening program, done in association with Tree Canada.

The funding includes $3,700 for street tree replacement in Radium Hot Springs, $6,000 for tree planting in Invermere, and $4,000 given to the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) for tree planting in Windermere.

“BC Hydro and Tree Canada have worked together with local communities to provide assistance to their regreening efforts for a long time,” BC Hydro executive vice president of transmission and distribution Greg Reimer told The Echo, adding the initiative also helps the power company ensure the right trees get chosen to be placed near power lines, and that the program is specifically designed to consider awareness and sensitivity to the proximity of power lines within each project plan.

“So it really helps us to keep the electrical system safe while at the same time make the municipality a little greener,” said Reimer.

The RDEK used the money it received through the program to plant 31 trees on Windermere Loop Road in May,on RDEK property that was the old entrance to the landfill. In July, using the money it received, the Village ofRadium Hot Springs planted six trees along the boulevards facing main frontage streets and in Rotary Park.Invermere will use its money at a later date to plant trees at the planned new multi-use centre, choosing to defer the planting until later in the facility’s construction.

“The regreening program helps to provide overall beauty to the community, and having trees helps to save energy, provides shade, provides privacy, enhances urban open space and green space, helps create habitat and,by doing that, helps diversify the plant and animal populations in a given area,” said Reimer, adding that trees can also help restore and reclaim lands to a more natural condition.

He wasn’t sure exactly how long the program has run in the Columbia Valley, but said “we’ve been doing this isthe area for some time.”

The projects are decided based on applications made by local governments.

Last year, across the entire province, approximately 13,000 trees were planted through the program and asmany as 13,500 will be planted through the program this year. BC Hydro estimates that during the 21 years ofthe program, 300,000 to 325,000 trees have been planted in communities throughout B.C.

For more information on the community regreening program, visit