- GUFF is very happy that our new Forestry Manager is hired and running his department. But, the department does not have the full complement of staff. Our forest is both growing and ageing at a greater pace, placing more demands on the department. Will you support full funding for the Urban Forest Management Plan and the Arborist Crew in the next budget cycle? Why or why not.
Yes, we are already behind in the implementation of the UFMP in regards to hiring arborists. We need an additional 2 arborist to bring to full compliment. I believe the effects of climate change and the EAB will increasingly use up staff time and we risk becoming significantly behind in regular maintenance and prevention work.
- Shade is important for reducing the heat island effect and for reducing the risk of skin cancer. Will you support and advocate for establishing a shade policy which would set goals for shade coverage along streets/sidewalks, in parking lots and in parks? Why or why not.
Yes, I support the goal of a 40% canopy cover because trees also filter air pollution, contribute to flood control, reduce energy use, sequester carbon and trees contribute significantly to the health and wellbeing of City residents.
- There is currently no recognition or protection of trees that are exceptionally large, old or have a significant history in the City. Will you support and advocate designating and protecting Heritage Trees? Why or why not.
I believe this is supportable in certain circumstances as with designated houses. These would have to be significant in some way from an historic perspective with clearly identified criteria.
- The City has begun an inventory of trees in our urban forest (species, size, health, etc.), but trees are not given value as “assets” or “green infrastructure.” Will you support and advocate for a comprehensive inventory of trees in the City that assigns a dollar value to the trees (using currently available computer programs that compute the dollar value of ecological services provided by trees)? This value would then be used in the assessment of the cost of proposed city projects. Why or why not.
Yes, I think we should move towards assigning a $ value to trees and it should be part of the consideration for any development as a cost/benefit analysis, fully understanding the monetary benefits of the urban forest, especially given the City 40% canopy goal. It is identified in the UFMP. Other communities with higher canopy coverage to Guelph’s 20% claim they have “millions of dollars in savings a year in environmental services such as air pollution removal and residential energy savings”.
- City Council passed a tree by-law in 2010 which requires permits for removing large trees on properties over half an acre in size (.2 ha). This tree by-law only covers about 6% of privately owned properties within the City. It does not cover city trees, institutional trees or the trees on small private properties where the majority of our urban forest exists. Will you support and advocate for expanding the existing tree by-law to cover all private properties in Guelph? Why or why not
I would like the City to consider this again looking to other cities like Toronto for best practices. This may not need to be an ‘all or nothing’ initiative. I would consider this for all of the previously stated benefits of the trees.
- Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation is now eating its way through our ash trees. The ash inventory is almost complete and an EAB plan has been adopted by council. Do you support full flexible funding for this initiative so the amount of money needed for injecting, removing and replanting is available as needed in a timely manner? Why or why not.
Yes, it has been reported that this is really a ‘pay now or pay later’ issue from a financial perspective, not to mention more environmentally friendly. The City as good stewards of our urban forests should take a proactive, flexible approach to the EAB issue.