Dear Guff:

Please find below the completed survey. I apologize for being so long winded as the maintenance of health canopy requires so much thought and effort. I hope my answers make sense to you. If anything is unclear please contact me – especially for clarification on any questions I might have parsed.


Phil Allt

  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.

Without seeming to equivocate and because I love trees, I have to say I am unsure. If, when I am councillor, budgeting permits fully supported funding, I am indeed in favour. This however has to be balanced with other concerns such as support  for infrastructure improvements including water and sewage, bike lanes roads and public transit. In my dream world, I would love to see a healthy canopy across all of Guelph. There are areas that have been denuded of trees (Elizabeth Street and Willow road for example) that would benefit from canopy restoration. Furthermore, trees, as living and dying life, need nurturing and this can only be accomplished if we provide funding for those skilled at determining a trees long and short viability.

  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.

Absolutely I would support this. As per question one: I believe a strong canopy makes a lot of sense. From an aesthetic point of view a strong canopy improves street appeal. From an ecological and energy point of view, trees reduce Greenhouse Gas production by reducing dependency on air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter. I might also add that kids love trees. They are a natural playground and this confirms for me that a shade policy is a positive element for any city to consider.

  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, preserving old tress that have heritage value i.e. white pines in Exhibition Park enhance Guelph and helps us restore a part of our heritage that has been lost over the past 150 years or so. To whit in my mom’s house which is 150 plus years old, white pine harvested from the Exhibition Park area can be found in the walls – the plank size of which is enormous  – 18” to 24” in width. Those trees which grew to approximately 200 feet are a rare commodity in Ontario. Sadly if we could find the North American Chestnut somewhere, Guelph would be a great place to restore it 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.

I will only support it based on an ecological foundation. I am concerned that if a dollar value is assigned, many people will assume that means that trees are a harvestable commodity. The trees to which you refer are trees which dollar for dollar are considered part of saving money via energy savings and ecological sustenance. I would rather impress upon people that it is not the dollar value that matter (just like it is not the dollar value of a beluga whale as a comparison) but the value as living dynamic element within the local environment that should be preserved in order to enhance a neighbourhood.

  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 (and this answer is simple) because it is the right thing to do. When a by-law only applies to certain properties it can easily be rescinded. Clearly on a large property there are more large trees. Yet, on a small property (mine) I could have a tree of some significance – say an elm that has survived – that should fall under the same jurisdiction. Laws cannot be made for just one component of the property owning public or for the property.

  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, mixed forest in Guelph and elsewhere is vital to the health of the city and the province. I do have some concerns with injecting pesticides into anything however. As I live in a termite zone, I fear for unneeded neurotoxins and others leaching into the soil.



“Yes, I am my brother’s keeper” Eugene Debs