Veteran Tree Incentive Program (VTIP)

The City of London is helping Londoners maintain their large veteran trees for longer and protect against European Gypsy Moths (EGM) by offering a one-year pilot Veteran Tree Incentive Program (VTIP) beginning March 1, 2021.

VTIP Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for VTIP?

If you are a residential household with a Distinctive Tree, you may be eligible for VTIP if you intend to carry out some type of activity for which you must pay costs for services or materials.

What is a Distinctive Tree?

A Distinctive Tree is a tree inside the Urban Growth Boundary, 50 cm or greater measured at 1.4 m above natural ground level, and not in a Tree Protection Area.

What is the maximum amount available per Distinctive Tree?

A percentage of eligible costs (usually 25 per cent) may be awarded up to a maximum of $1,000 per Distinctive Tree

Where is the Urban Growth Boundary and the Tree Protection Area?

Please refer to Citymap (London City Map) and select the layer for Urban Growth Boundary or Tree Protection Area to explore.

What type of work is eligible?

For this pilot, the City will consider any work that helps meet the goal “to defer the removal of the largest trees to the latest possible date while allowing for successional planting to catch up”. If in doubt whether your proposed activity might be supported by VTIP, please ask City staff.

Typical examples eligible work may include:

  1. Pruning that does not meet Good Arboricultural Practices where a permit for “Injury” is successfully obtained from the City. This may include creating a wildlife habitat in a Distinctive Tree that is in advanced decline, or even dead.
  2. Pruning to Good Arboricultural Standards, where no permit is required. The pruning should aim to preserve the tree for longer “as is, where is”. Pruning only for aesthetic appearance may not be eligible.
  3. Moving an existing structure (being something of value or a place where people are more likely to be) out of the vicinity of a Distinctive Tree so it can age and decline peacefully with no or minimal intervention. This might include moving an existing garden shed or a play area to some other place.
  4. Successional planting where there are no trees already fulfilling this role. VTIP may assist in planting new trees somewhere close to a Distinctive Tree, to grow and develop while the Distinctive Tree is still retained for the foreseeable future.
  5. A one-time intervention that aims to achieve a long-term benefit for the Distinctive Tree. This could include cabling, bracing or propping of old limbs still attached to the tree; root drenching or other mycorrhizal inoculation or fertilising regimes tailored to its specific needs; or pest control.
  6. Having an arborist / arboricultural professional assist in EGM egg mass scraping on a severely infested Distinctive Tree that has egg masses out of reach of the resident.

Routine care – something that occurs on a regular basis, such as fertilising or watering the lawn around a tree - may not be eligible.

There is a Distinctive Tree on my property. How do I apply?

Please call 519-661-2489 x 4457 or write to Urban Forestry, 663 Bathurst Street, London, Ontario, or email treeprotection@london.ca to request a VTIP application form. No in-person visits to our offices are possible at the current time.

Applications for VTIP will be considered strictly on a first-come, first-served basis until the available funds have been spent.

You will be required to submit a quote, contract or other documentary evidence to support your request that will be used to determine how much assistance you may receive through VTIP. A visit to your property may be undertaken by City staff to verify your application. City staff may request photographs of the Distinctive Tree to avoid a site visit or in-person meeting. If you are approved for a VTIP award, you will receive an offer letter from the City’s Urban Forestry team. You are responsible to pay for the work or materials, and to submit your paid invoice, or receipt, or other evidence, to Urban Forestry by a date specified in the City’s letter. No VTIP will be offered, or paid, without paperwork to substantiate all claims. A VTIP award that is not claimed by you by the date given in the City’s offer letter may be cancelled and re-awarded to another applicant.

I can’t afford to pay for the entire job upfront. Can you pay VTIP direct to my contractor?

No. VTIP is strictly for residential property owners and will not be paid to contractors. Your contract is between you and your contractor. The City will ensure any award under VTIP is processed as quickly as possible. 

Can I apply for money to pay for work already done?

No. Retrospective applications will not be eligible and will not be considered for VTIP. You should not commence any work before VTIP assistance has been approved by City staff. If your tree is too hazardous to wait, you may not be able to obtain VTIP support.

Can I obtain VTIP to pay for work required by an Order of the City?

No. If you have received an Order from the City to abate a safety concern under the Property Standards By-law, or an Order made for any other reason, it is not eligible for VTIP.

Will everyone getting assistance from VTIP receive the same amount?

No. The City will determine how much VTIP assistance to offer subject to availability and on a case-by-case basis. A percentage of eligible costs (usually 25 per cent) may be awarded up to a maximum of $1,000 per Distinctive Tree. The maximum amount available is $1,000 per eligible Distinctive Tree. Most VTIP awards will be less than this so as many property owners as possible can be assisted during the pilot VTIP.

I applied for VTIP and I don’t think the City awarded me enough. Can I ask for more?

No. You may only apply for VTIP once in this pilot year. The City may award any amount up to $1,000 per Distinctive Tree. That does not mean everyone will get that amount, nor that they will all receive the same amount for the same type of work. The City may exercise discretion to award higher amounts or lower amounts based on how much tree canopy cover occurs in that Ward, or the City may implement another way to direct more assistance to where it is most needed. If you are successful in receiving an offer under the pilot VTIP, that is your final offer.

I am receiving assistance under VTIP. How will it be paid?

By cheque, mailed to you at your home address.

How to apply to VTIP

To apply for assistance under VTIP please complete the application form. You will be required to provide:

1. Your name, and preferred method of contact (email or telephone number)

2. Your address – this must be in the City of London, Ontario

3a. Information about your Distinctive Tree(s) – what it is, where it is on your property, and its trunk diameter in cm, which must be 50cm or greater measured at 1.4m above ground; describe this in simple terms for example: “DT1: 58cm maple, rear yard, 3m from west property line, 10m from house”. The diameter is the measurement across the trunk from one side to another and can only be measured directly in a standing tree using caliper; without calipers, it must be calculated from the measured circumference of the trunk (all the way around the trunk) divided by pi – dividing the circumference measurement by 3.14 is acceptable.

3b. A photo of the Distinctive Tree(s). If you have more than one, show one Distinctive Tree in each photo. Each photo must be labelled (e.g. T1 , T2, etc) and must clearly show the tree – if the weather is not ideal, please try again later! Staff need to see the details of the tree, not a blurred shape or silhouette of a tree. You can submit photos electronically in .pdf. .docx, .jpg, .png and .tiff formats. Please reduce or compress file sizes where possible, but make sure to keep a clear image.

3c. OPTIONAL: You can include a sketch plan, a survey, or an orthographic (aerial photo) image that shows where T1, T2 etc are located on your property. You can use CityMap on the City’s website www.london.ca, with aerial imagery layer turned on, to create a .pdf plan of your property showing the exact location of the Distinctive Tree(s); any plan or map you submit electronically must be in the format .docx, .pdf, .jpg, .tiff or .png.

4. What do you propose to do? If you are Injuring the Distinctive Tree and applying at the same time for a permit under the Tree Protection Bylaw, say “Please refer to Application to Injure”. All the information we need should be in that application. If not, please describe in simple terms what you propose to do and how this will prolong the useful life of your Distinctive Tree by making it healthier, safer, or creating wildlife habitat. City staff are well educated in tree care and management and will review your application through their professional eyes. Keep it simple, brief, but to the point. For example, “Remove dead, diseased or broken branches to keep T1 healthier and reduce likelihood of branches falling in the yard”; or “(i) Install fence 2m outside the edge of tree canopy of T1; (ii) install mulch within the fenced area; so my family and pet dog stay out of the area under T1 and threat from the tree may be avoided.”

5. The total cost inclusive of tax, and support this by including a quote, work order, contract, screenshot of a catalogued item, or other suitable evidence - this will be used to determine how much assistance you may receive through VTIP. The supporting information should include the contractor or supplier information, what services or materials are being supplied, to whom (i.e. you), the cost, and a date. This information should be not more than 6 months old.

6. The date, and your signature.

Please submit your application form by ONE of the following:

• By email treeprotection@london.ca. You will receive an automatic reply.

• By regular mail:

City of London – Urban Forestry A J Tyler Building 663 Bathurst St London, ON, N5Z 1P8

What Happens Next?

If your application is missing some information that is required, City staff may ask you to submit that by a specified date, but until that is received your application will not be progressed and your application will not be admitted to the “first come, first served” queue.

Two site visits to your property may be necessary by City staff to: (i) verify your application, and; (ii) review the completed work. Photos of your Distinctive Tree on your property may be taken and kept by the City. City staff may request that you supply “after” photographs of the Distinctive Tree to avoid a site visit or in-person meeting.

If you are approved for a VTIP award, you will receive an offer letter by email or regular mail from the City’s Urban Forestry team. Our goal is to respond within 3 weeks of receiving a complete VTIP application. You are responsible to organize the work, pay for the completed work or materials, and to submit a copy of your paid invoice or receipt to Urban Forestry by the date specified in the City’s letter. No VTIP will be offered, or paid, without acceptable paperwork to substantiate all claims.

A VTIP award that is not claimed by you by the date given in the City’s offer letter may be cancelled and re-awarded to another applicant and the City shall have no further obligation to you under the VTIP. If you need more time, please contact Urban Forestry before the date specified in the letter and request a short extension – which may be offered for a few weeks, rather than months.

That’s it! If City staff need anything else, they will contact you. Thank you for helping grow and preserve your Veteran Trees!

VTIP application form

DOWNLOAD THE VTIP APPLICATION FORM

Last modified:Tuesday, June 22, 2021