Collingwood Third Municipality in Canada to Adopt a Pollinator Protection Plan

At its meeting held February 21, 2024, Council adopted the Town’s Pollinator Protection Plan making Collingwood the third municipality in Canada to have one. 

The Plan defines guiding principles and explicit actions that the Town can take to protect pollinators in the area. Pollinators include many diverse insect and animal groups, including bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and more, and they play a critical role in pollinating our crops and wild flowering plants. The Plan is also an important step to mitigate the equally important issue of biodiversity loss.

“There is a role for everyone to play in implementing the Plan. One of the best ways you can support pollinators is by planting native plant habitats, but before we get into planting season, we would like to remind residents to ‘leave the leaves’. It might be unseasonably warm this week but please wait until the warmer temperatures stabilize.”

Deputy Mayor Tim Fryer

Pollinators often overwinter in gardens, under leaves, or in hollowed plant stems and dead stalks, to emerge the next year in spring. By removing this plant material in fall and early spring, we risk removing overwintering pollinators with it. It is important to leave leaves and other plant material until temperatures are consistently above 10 degrees Celsius in spring, and pollinators have safely emerged. 

The Plan’s Vision: Collingwood is home to a diverse, thriving community of pollinators that supports native ecosystem resilience, food production, and human connectedness to nature.

To achieve this vision, Collingwood has identified four key goals and actions within each. The four goals are:

  1. Create, maintain, expand, and connect native habitat areas.
  2. Empower and incentivize residents to create native habitats.
  3. Minimize direct and indirect harm to pollinators.
  4. Educate and engage the community.

The Collingwood Pollinator Protection Plan was created by Pollinator Partnership Canada in close collaboration with Town Staff. The town thanks Pollinate Collingwood for critical feedback on the plan, Collingwood residents for input through the public consultation and survey, and Julie DiLorenzo for generously funding the creation of the plan.

Background

On January 1, 2008, the Town of Collingwood took the proactive step of passing a bylaw banning widespread pesticide use on Municipal property. This was before the establishment of Provincial laws, or the groundswell movement related to preserving ecology and habitats. The Town now follows the Provincial Pesticides Act and standards, which also include herbicide use. A Hazardous Vegetation Management Plan outlines procedures for the Town to manage any perilous, detrimental, nuisance, and invasive vegetation on public lands.

The community has continued to show increasing interest in preserving the environment, culminating with the declaration of a climate crisis by Town Council in October of 2019. Following this, and after much work and effort by a local advocacy group known as Pollinate Collingwood, the Town was named a Bee City by Bee City Canada.

Pollinate Collingwood is a volunteer-led initiative with a dual mission 1) to support and 2) raise awareness of Ontario’s native pollinators. Their projects and initiatives are aimed at focusing the collective energy and resources of community members to improve native habitats within the Town of Collingwood and the broader region, and they have been instrumental in elevating the conversation around Pollinator Protection. Bringing more native plants to our landscapes, less pesticides, and education to our youth, residents, businesses, and organizations helps bees and other native pollinators source their nutrition and provide their habitat. This supports sustainable food systems, limits the impact of climate change, and creates a community that works together.

Funding from Julie Di Lorenzo of Mirabella Development, who has committed $500,000 to Collingwood’s Forest canopy, made the development of this Pollinator Protection Plan possible.

For more information on this project and to view the Plan visit: https://engage.collingwood.ca/pollinator-protection-plan.

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