Guelph Urban Forest Friends — Questions for Candidates

Dear Candidate.

Guelph Urban Forest Friends is a local group that advocates for better protection of urban trees and canopy. We make delegations to City Council, hold events to raise awareness about the importance of urban trees, and distribute information about the many benefits of trees, and the threats to trees, through our web site.

We have serious concerns about the continued loss of mature trees in our City and hear frequently from upset residents about tree removals. We are submitting these questions to candidates for City Council and respectfully request your response by October 18th. The responses we receive will be posted on our web site and e-mailed to our list of 500 supporters.

For further information, please check our website ( or contact us. Thank you for your response. GUFF

1. Currently all tree planting, maintenance and removal activities are the responsibility of the City’s Operations Department. Will you support and advocate for establishing an Urban Forest department headed by a forester with a degree in urban forestry? Why or why not.

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.

3. There is currently no program in place to recognize or protect trees that are exceptionally large, old or have a significant history in the City. Will you support and advocate for a city program to be adopted during the next term of council aimed at designating and protecting Heritage Trees? Why or why not.

4. Though the City has adopted a goal of 40% tree canopy coverage, information about tree canopy loss due to development, road construction, etc. is not being collected. Will you support and advocate for collecting publicly accessible data, funded in the next budget cycle, on the annual removal of mature trees and loss of canopy within the City? Why or why not.

5. The City does not have an inventory of trees in our urban forest (species, size, health, etc.), nor are trees given value as “assets” or “green infrastructure.” Will you support and advocate for an inventory of trees in the City, including the dollar value of the trees (using currently available computer programs that compute the dollar value of ecological services provided by trees)? Why or why not.

6. City Council recently passed a tree by-law which requires permits for removing large trees on properties over half an acre in size. This tree by-law only covers a small percentage of properties within the City. Will you support and advocate for expanding the existing tree by-law to cover all properties in Guelph? Why or why not.


Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your survey.

I have demonstrated a deep and strong commitment to the urban tree canopy and the environment in my own life.

On my Downtown property, I have planted approximately 600 trees, all native species. I have had to harvest some very old trees due to their unsafe condition. I was able to mill up two of the trees to trim out the interior of my heritage home as well as build a deck. The wood that was unusable for milling is being used to heat my home. Approximately 60% of the energy required to heat my home, has come from my property.

I have used alternate forms of transportation to meet all my commitments as a Councillor for the past four years. Whether it be walking, my bike, car pooling or public transit, I have been able to avoid the use of my car.

The questions you have asked are very specific and I will need to evaluate all perspectives before I am able to provide a more comprehensive response.

I believe that I have demonstrated the values that GUFF feels is important for a healthy and sustainable community.

Hope this helps. ian


1 Comment

Filed under Environment, Municipal Election 2010

One response to “Guelph Urban Forest Friends — Questions for Candidates

  1. Libby

    This is the best response I’ve seen so far to this survey. Kudos Ian for living your values everyday, and for incorporating them into your role as a city councillor. I hope that your constituents see how you are able to embody all that is good in Guelph and bring that to the Council Chambers. I can’t vote for you because I am not in your ward, but I have told everyone I know in ward 2 that they should put an X beside your name.

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