It might be easier to find some shade on a hot summer day in downtown Kelowna in the years to come.
The City of Kelowna said it hopes to increase the urban canopy cover along downtown streets from 12.4 per cent to 20 per cent by 2030 as part of their official community plan.
While certain urban areas in Kelowna have more shade from trees than other parts — including private properties — a recent light detection and ranging analysis conducted by the city shows the downtown core doesn’t have enough areas with suitable canopy cover.
City of Kelowna urban forestry technician Tara Bergeson said the report raises multiple flags around how the city should improve its downtown core for residents and visitors.
“We’ll need to develop some innovative solutions to bring up our numbers in these lower percentage areas,” said Bergeson.
Every fall, the city plants up to 400 trees to offset areas in the city that have had natural shade taken away from them. Despite the seasonal initiative, it’s not enough to offset the problem.
According to Bergeson, reduced air pollution and better stormwater migitation are other benefits for urban areas with increased tree counts.
Since 2010, Kelowna residents have purchased more than 4,600 trees to plants on their own properties.