1. 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 aging 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, I support full funding. It makes no sense fiscally to have a Forestry Manager on paid staff who lacks the resources to implement the Forestry Management plan. And this plan is essential to the well-being of our urban canopy.

  1. 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 will support, and actively advocate for protecting and enhancing our tree coverage. We are fortunate that providing shade and reducing the ‘heat island effect’ improves our health, the health of our landscape, and beautifies it at the same time! It’s a win win situation- and the investment in this will bring savings in our health care costs that will more than offset initial expenditures.

  1. 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.

YES I support designation and protection of our Heritage Trees. These trees are a vital part of the identity of our community. They are our living history. When I am exceptionally old I hope there will be some protection for me too!

  1. 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 support a comprehensive inventory. Placing a monetary value on the trees is an efficient and effective way to measure appropriate compensation for tree destruction in development projects. Hopefully this monetary value would be a deterrent for destruction as well, since our urban forest is too often an undervalued asset.

  1. 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

YES the bylaw should cover all private properties. It should be the decision of the Forest Manager as to whether a tree in any part of the city is essential to the sustainability of that neighbourhood’s ecosystem.

  1. 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 I support this funding. As with each of the these questions, funding to protect and enhance our urban forest is a long-term investment that pays for itself with the increased health of our community and our citizens.

 

James Gordon