April 5, 2009
On March 30, Ric Jordan, Manager of the Arboretum at the University of Guelph, made a presentation to the Community Development and Environmental Services Committee on behalf of GUFF to remind city council that the time for inaction is past.
Guelph’s urban forest canopy sits at 25%, while the desired level is 40%. We need action on an interim tree protection bylaw NOW, before any more trees are lost.
GUFF’s Requests of the Committee
- We need an interim protective tree bylaw now.
- We need an independent urban forestry department.
- We need a certified forester to direct tree, shade and water interconnection, public education and enforcement of tree maintenance and protection.
- We need an urban forest advisory committee to support this department .
Listen to the audio from the committee meeting HERE.
Sign the Petition:
Download and print the petition. Encourage your friends and neighbours to show their commitment to Guelph’s trees by signing it:
Return complete petitions to GUFF, under the Big Umbrella, at the Guelph Farmers’ Market.
April 4, 2009
- 1991 tree by-law must be revised “in order to control the number of trees, woodlots & habitat destroyed annually by development” (Park Naturalization Policy)
- 1994 “Methods for protecting trees from development should be developed” (Green Plan)
- 2003 Environmental Action Plan recommends tree inventory, updating tree by-law to protect natural features and developing guidelines to protect trees during construction.
- 2003 Tree Protection Report–Background Review & Recommendations, Aboud & Associates, Inc., September 29, 2003 recommends professional forester with a degree in forestry or arboriculture.
- 2005 Council resolution asking staff to prepare funding request for urban forest study and tree maintenance program
- 2007 (October) Staff report states that Urban Forest Plan will be finalized with details for implementation and be presented to council in first quarter of 2008
- 2007 (November) Council resolution that staff report back following the visioning process with cost estimate for urban forest management plan
- 2007 Goal 6.6 “A biodiverse city with the highest tree canopy percentage among comparable municipalities” (2007 Strategic Plan
- 2008 (January) Council approves prioritizing the Strategic Urban Forest Management
- 2009 ‘ Strategic Urban Forest Management Plan Recommendations’ contain 27 uses of the word ‘should’ instead of ‘will’ . No protection in sight. Guelph is still losing tree canopy due to construction and high impact development and lack of protective tree by-law.
We need action now.
We need an interim protective tree bylaw now.
We need an independent urban forestry department.
We need a certified forester to direct tree, shade and water interconnection, public education and enforcement of tree maintenance and protection.
We need an urban forest advisory committee to support this department .
Guelph Urban Forest Friends
April 4, 2009
Councillors complain of ‘pre-emptive strikes’ occurring before bylaw can be passed
April 01, 2009
Mayor Karen Farbridge deemed it “a tragedy” the rate at which Guelph is losing its trees, but nonetheless voted against having staff investigate the feasibility of creating an interim tree bylaw.
Farbridge was the only member of the Community Development and Environmental Services committee to vote against a motion to that effect floated by Coun. Leanne Piper.
Jim Riddell, director of community design and development, said city staff are working on a new tree bylaw. He said council should get a status update on the bylaw before summer, and the legislation should be in place by the end of this year.
But Piper wants to see something sooner, if possible.
“What I’m seeing lately are perfectly healthy trees coming down for no good reason whatsoever,” Piper said, adding without an interim bylaw “we’re going to continue losing healthy trees.”
Coun. Mike Salisbury said he has noticed “pre-emptive tree clearing” in his west end ward, as developers remove foliage well in advance of building.
Piper is concerned as residents learn the city is working on a new tree bylaw “we could see a sudden rash of people taking down healthy trees.”
Coun. Maggie Laidlaw also expressed concern about “pre-emptive strikes” before a bylaw is in place.
But in arguing against Piper’s motion, the mayor said she would prefer to have staff spend their time working on “the real bylaw” rather than preparing a report to council.
Riddell agreed it might make more sense to apply resources to the bylaw itself in an attempt to bring it forward as soon as possible.
“We want to balance staff resources to see what is the most effective way to protect trees,” Riddell said.
Ric Jordan, a member of Guelph Urban Forest Friends, urged the city to establish an interim bylaw.
He said urban forestry guidelines suggest a 40 per cent tree canopy for cities “to reduce the negative effects of climate change on air quality and health.”
Currently, Guelph has a canopy of less than 25 per cent.
Jordan noted some of the older areas of the city have more than 40 per cent canopy “but in some of the newer parts of the city we’re probably down around five per cent.”
April 3, 2009
This tree has been severely stressed by these construction methods.Will it survive even three more years?
While healthy, mature trees add to property value, a dying or dead tree out front can, in fact, reduce your property’s value. If this tree dies, the owners will lose the shade on their home and increase the amount of energy needed to cool it in the summer.
Low Impact Development (LID) would protect a tree from vehicles and equipment that compact the soil and crush the life support from the tree. Half of a tree is underground and needs water and aerobic infiltration to keep the roots working well.
Do the neighbouring homeowners realize their tree may be severely impacted by their new neighbour’s vehicles and supplies being stored within the drip-line of their tree?
The cement truck is crushing air from the soil. This starves the aerobic life underground that supports the health of the tree. Rain will run off as it cannot infiltrate compacted soil. Poor construction protective practices such as seen here in this picture can cause the tree to have a difficult time coping with the compaction to the feeder roots that supply the tree with water, oxygen and nutrients and can severly compromise the tree’s health and chances for survival.
The picture below was taken one month later. It’s the same tree.
Owners need to contract for LID (low impact development).
Guelph needs a by-law to protect trees within their drip-line.
Thousands of new homes will be built in Guelph in the next few years as a result of Places to Grow requirements.
Check out these links on Tree Root Systems and how they are impacted by various activities around them:
April 1, 2009
When cities, developers or property owners decide to repair, build or extend the structures and infrastructures on their land, they should implement Low Impact Development strategies.
Low Impact Development reduces the stress on existing trees by safeguarding their root systems.
A tree’s root system is roughly the circumference of the tree’s canopy or “dripline”.
Strategies to protect the tree’s root system include not digging within the “dripline”, choosing to store heavy building materials or machinery outside of the tree’s “dripline” and parking vehicles outside of the “dripline”.
Without these strategies, a tree’s health will be compromised so that the tree could be lost entirely within two to three years.
Low Impact Development will:
- save trees when possible
- protect inside the dripline
- avoid parking on top of roots
- avoid storage on top of roots
- avoid mass grading
- Benefits to homeowners and city dwellers of saving trees through Low Impact Development include:
- reducing energy costs of a/c
- reducing stormwater runoff
- increasing groundwater recharge
- increasing air quality
- maintaining habitat for birds and pollinators
- reducing the ‘heat island’ effect
- reducing heating costs
- enhancing livability of area
- increasing property value by 10 to 23% !!!
April 1, 2009
Low Impact Development (LID) refers to a highly effective series of ideas that emphasizes retaining the natural features of a site and reduces the negative impacts of development. It advocates minimizing unnecessary mass grading and soil compaction. It provides real benefits to the homeowners and preserves the value of their investment. LID also reduces environmental costs and infrastructure costs.
LID results in stormwater management, thereby reducing water in basements and maintaining a healthy water table around property.
LID costs less than conventional stormwater management systems. Trees reduce soil surface runoff by infiltrating rainfall to groundwater. They also enhance evaporation of rainwater back to the atmosphere after a storm. Therefore, there is reduced chance of flooding and pollution damage.
Protected, integrated green spaces provides benefits!
1. Improved air quality
2. Increase in property value.
3. Improved pollinator and bird habitat
4. Improved livability and aesthetics of a community
5. Reduced greenhouse gases and heat island effect
6. Reduced smog and particulate damage
7. Reduced energy costs for air conditioning and heating
8. Improved wetlands, green corridors and wildlife habitat