GUFF Election 2014 Candidate Questions
- 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 ageing 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 have been committed to full implementation of the UFMP since it was first passed by Council. Why? We are falling behind in our 40% canopy goal because the spread of Emerald Ash Borer and major storms have redirected our limited forestry staff resources. We have a lot of catching up to do, and the sooner we get started the better.
- 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, fully support, especially in parking lots and streetscapes. Walkability is a city-wide goal, and shaded streets are an essential component. Stormwater and erosion control require healthy tree cover, especially along arterial roads and the Hanlon.
- 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.
Ideally, yes. It is more complicated than simply an age assessment, but for trees that have an association with a cultural landscape or heritage property, I fully support. There are many public and private trees that would qualify.
- 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.
We have started an inventory in parks, and this should be extended to all public spaces. Green infrastructure is a concept that has standardized values that can be easily calculated, and should be a component of city projects.
- 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
We need a private tree by-law to prevent unnecessary cutting of healthy trees. That being said, there are a limited number of reasons that tree removal is necessary, which should be determined through community consultation in the development of a by-law.
- 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.
EAB will devastate our community’s ash trees, and we are now at a point where treating – in perpetuity – might not be the wisest course of action. That being said, there are key locations where large ash should be preserved. For many young trees, the best approach is to begin replacement and companion plantings is right now, followed by removal of dead trees when appropriate. With succession planting done in advance, the impact will be less severe.