© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
The City of Charlottetown this week partnered with Home Hardware to celebrate National Tree Day by planting trees with students from Queen Charlotte Intermediate School at the site of the city’s reforestation project and future wellfield in Miltonvale Park. From left are students Apollo Lin, Wendy Chen, Shannon Murphy and Margaret Reynolds.
A group of intermediate school students planted more than 70 trees in Miltonvale Park on Thursday in an effort to help protect the city’s newest water source.
“Teacher said it was either this or math class,’’ joked one of the students planting trees from Queen Charlotte Intermediate School.
The event was supposed to take place on National Tree Day last week but poor weather put a stop to that. More than 10,000 trees have been planted at the site of Charlottetown’s future wellfield since 2012 as part of a forest management plan.
Bruce Smith, community adviser with Tree Canada on P.E.I., said the purpose is to protect groundwater supplies as they absorb excess nutrients out of the soil. Trees also filter out pollutants from the surface sources before they reach the water table.
“It will help hold the water,’’ Smith said.
“It helps the water percolate into the ground and it provides protection for the whole wellfield
The new wellfield will take some of the pressure off the Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed, currently the only source of water for the city.
The city purchased 200 acres in Miltonvale Park where the new wellfield is located. It will likely be sometime in 2016 before the wellfield is actually supplying water to residents.
“You need an area that doesn’t have gas stations, that doesn’t have possibilities of the water getting contaminated so they bought about 200 acres here. Some of it was agricultural land.’’
Home Hardware is footing the bill for the trees.
Coun. Eddie Rice, chairman of the Water and Sewer Utility committee, said having students plant the trees and explaining to them why they are doing it serves a significant educational purpose.
“They are the recipients of this wellfield,’’ Rice said. “We have to protect it. We are going to be doing some major things out here. Water reservoirs will be built (and) the field has to be planted.’’
Rice said it’s also important for people to understand that the new wellfield in Miltonvale Park will not completely solve the city’s water issues.
“We have to go looking for another one, contrary to what the opinion may be, that this is the answer or the final solution. It is not.’’
Rice said the city has identified five more sites as possibilities for future wellfields.