Maggie Laidlaw

  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.  


Absolutely yes.  I voted against the motion (during the last budget srssion) to remove staff that had been added to support Martin, and argued that it wasn’t a good idea to hire a forestry manager without sufficient staff to manage, especially with the ice-storm damage and EAB, but was on the losing side of that vote.


  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.


THis simply common sense for several reasons, e.g. more comfortable and cooler space for pedestrians; helps to “nature-wash” residents who don’t get outside the city much, and, as you mentioned, a preventive measure against skin cancer.


  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, definitely.  There is a magnificent old tree at the top of Dublin Street North that I bike by on my way home from work.  It lost a large limb in the last big wind storm we had, and may lose more in the next one.  I am sure there are trees like this one throughout the whole city, and we must protect them as much as possible.


  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.


I would support and advocate for this.  With our carbon neutral program being launched on a pilot basis, and the computer software that will help to assess this, I know that trees must be part of this equation.


  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.   I did attempt to bring a motion to council this year that would reduce the size of private city lots that are exempt from needing a permit to cut down a tree, but was told by staff that it would be too expensive to enforce, etc.  I will be revisiting this during the next term of council, if I am re-elected.


  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.


I do, of course, but I believe that the province must be part of the solution, in terms of funding.  EAB does not stop at municipal boundaries.  We need a coordinated effort for the program to be successful.  The GRCA is lobbying the province for funding for EAB programs and we should do the same.