Guelph Urban Forest Friends – 2014 Candidate Questions.
The best way for me to respond the questionnaire is through an overview of how I see my role as a councillor. I do not have the qualifications to respond to some of your questions and doubt many candidates do. As with many complex areas we hire professional staff to assess and make the appropriate recommendations on most of the specific questions you are asking. As you have noted, a key commitment to taking our tree canopy seriously was the hiring of Mr. Newman, our new Forestry Manager. .
There is no doubt that maintaining an effective tree canopy needs to be an identified objective with meaningful priority. It does require that we have a comprehensive inventory and Council has supported this. How much we can or cannot do over the short run will be impacted by at least three things – other critical priorities, budget considerations, community engagement.
The question of getting into managing people’s back yards is sensitive and political and could involve other levels of government.
It may very well fall on the City to take more of a lead on public property and larger developments. This could however potentially have a significant impact on our property taxes and I am sure would require meaningful public consultation and involvement.