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.

A:
This is a budgetary matter that cannot really get a yes/no answer at this point.  I expect that the incoming council will focus spending on strategic priorities and essential services.

2. 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.

A:
Shade is an elusive property. My own backyard maple is a good example: we loved the protection it gave our fair skinned children 10 years ago, yet now it’s ever widening circle stops most sunlight from entering our vegetable garden (and yet I would never cut it down).  A shade policy, if you ever hoped to enforce it, would be difficult.

3. 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.

A:
I enjoy seeing streets lined with grand old trees, however under circumstances where they pose a risk, the public good should get priority.
When the large trees in Stanley Park were felled in a storm, many people had an emotional response.  If and when the City of Guelph intends to remove large trees, the people must be informed in advance of any action.  A Heritage designation is not required for people to have an emotional connection to a tree.

4. The City has begun an inventory of trees in our urban forest (species, size, health, tc.), 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.

A:
The inventory of our trees is a great step to monitoring and maintaining levels; giving trees a dollar value implies a tree is interchangeable with cash.  This is a dangerous move if the ultimate goal is to keep the trees.
(Also, would not the cost of such an on-going assessment have to be factored into net value of these trees?)

5. 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

A.
Although all large trees should require a permit before they are removed, we must acknowledge an owner’s right to use his property as he sees fit.

6. 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.

A:
Today it is the EAB, tomorrow will bring another disease/parasite .Better practices toward plant/tree management is required in a comprehensive plan.

Thank-you for this opportunity to address your group, and for your passionate commitment to our forests.
I never feel more calm than when I am sitting in a tree

Rob Dunn-Dufault