Sustainable Guelph Oct 1 2009


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Sustainable Guelph is a presentation by Guelph Urban Forest Friends designed to stress the importance of trees in a healthy community, to outline the current development practices that harm trees in an urban environment and to show the benefits of Low Impact Development (LID)

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Sustainable Guelph Oct 1 2009

  1. 1. Guelph Urban Forest Friends Sustainable Guelph
  2. 2. Guelph Urban Forest Friends (GUFF) We are a group of citizens advocating for Low Impact Development (LID) and an urban forestry department to maintain and increase the health, integrity and area of Guelph’s tree canopy
  3. 3. Purpose of presentation <ul><li>To stress the importance of trees in a healthy community </li></ul><ul><li>To outline the current development practices that harm trees in our urban environment </li></ul><ul><li>To show the benefits of Low Impact Development (LID) </li></ul><ul><li>To outline actions for change </li></ul>
  4. 4. The importance of trees for health <ul><li>Trees improve air quality by removing many harmful substances from the air including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>carbon dioxide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>nitrous oxide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sulphur dioxide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ozone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the very damaging particulates </li></ul></ul>University of Guelph
  5. 5. Air quality affects health costs <ul><li>The Ontario Government spends over $0.5 billion each year on health costs related to poor air quality </li></ul><ul><li>Over 5,000 people die every year in Ontario from conditions associated with poor quality air </li></ul><ul><li>Thousands more are hospitalized </li></ul>From: “The Illness Costs of Air Pollution”, OMA
  6. 6. Trees combat climate change <ul><li>Trees reduce greenhouse gases by capturing carbon dioxide </li></ul><ul><li>Large healthy trees are important for our tree canopy </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  7. 7. Two similar homes. The house on the left has significantly decreased heating & air conditioning costs. Trees reduce energy needs
  8. 8. “ A study in Charlottesville, VA showed that when tree cover dropped by 8% between 1976 – 2000, the amount of run-off increased by 19%” GRCA Forester Virginia Gauley, GRCA Watershed Report Trees enhance river quality
  9. 9. Removal of healthy trees increases run-off. This degrades water resources with pollutants and sediment from roads and rooftops. Trees reduce run-off to river after storms
  10. 10. Trees stabilize the amount of after-storm river flow. “ Our city needs a stable amount of river water for wastewater management” GRCA Watershed Report “Investing in Trees” Trees affect after-storm river volume
  11. 11. Hanlon Creek Business Park, where aquifers of the Paris/Galt moraine are recharged. Guelph water comes from the Paris/Galt moraine. Trees and soil filter rain and snow-melt, which increases ground water for Guelph
  12. 12. Properties with mature trees sell for 10-25% more than those without trees Trees increase property value
  13. 13. <ul><li>Mammals, birds and insects need trees </li></ul><ul><li>Some pollinators require specific trees </li></ul>Trees provide habitat and food
  14. 14. “ Southern Ontario has the strongest UV radiation in Canada. The greatest protection is afforded by trees with dense wide canopies and low foliage.” Shade for Good Health and a Green City, Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition
  15. 15. Trees enhance health by providing shade and UV protection for outdoor activities <ul><li>reduced sun exposure encourages walking and biking </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>UV radiation in the early years is a major determinant for skin cancer, increased risk of other cancers and cataracts </li></ul><ul><li>UV radiation can also depress the immune system </li></ul><ul><li>“ Shade for Good Health and a Green City”, Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition </li></ul>80% of all UV radiation is accumulated in the first 18 years
  17. 17. Schools grounds and parks are prime settings for Shade Policy Children spend 25% of the school day outdoors “ Shade for Good Health and a Green City”, Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition
  18. 18. Trees reduce stress <ul><li>Park-like settings increase health and well-being </li></ul>Royal City Park
  19. 19. Trees contribute to our heritage value Designated heritage property includes heritage trees
  20. 20. But many current practices are reducing our forest canopy and lowering our resistance to climate stress. This is making our city less sustainable
  21. 21. We need to practice Low Impact Development (LID) to have a sustainable future
  22. 22. Low Impact Development (LID) places roads and pipes outside treed hedgerows, preserving natural benefits of healthy ecosystems. This reduces costs and greenhouse gases, thereby increasing sustainability. Low impact development preserves natural benefits ! Source: LOW IMPACT DEVELOPMENT Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound. Puget Sound Action Team, Washington State University Pierce County Extension. January 2005. Graphic by AHBL Engineering.
  23. 23. Current development practice BEFORE AFTER Victoria Road: tree branches stripped prior to removal Heritage trees are removed, heritage home remains
  24. 24. An ambient temperature of 26 degrees can increase to 48-55 degrees on paved surfaces. The effects on health are considerable. ( Shade for Good Health and a Green City, Toronto 2007) Current development practice
  25. 25. Interspersing trees in paved areas reduces the ‘heat island’ effect and deterioration of asphalt Parking lot in Munich, Germany, Oct 2007
  26. 26. ‘ Places to Grow’ legislation compels Guelph to grow to 165,000 population by 2031 This means thousands of new, infill homes for our city of 115,000
  27. 27. Current infill practice BEFORE AFTER 13 healthy trees were removed from this infill lot, two on city property. LID would have retained some.
  28. 28. Same lot; The new house has increased storm-water run-off, reduced groundwater infiltration and increased energy demand
  29. 29. When roots are cut, trees can starve or topple <ul><li>Most feeder roots for a tree are in the top foot of soil </li></ul><ul><li>Roots are frequently cut close to the tree </li></ul>Photo:
  30. 30. Compaction also damages roots <ul><li>Trees with damaged roots can die within five years </li></ul><ul><li>LID would protect these trees to the drip-line (outer edge of the canopy) </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>1991 ( Park Naturalization Policy ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>tree by-law must be revised &quot;in order to control the number of trees, woodlots & habitat destroyed annually by development&quot;  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1994 ( Green Plan ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;Methods for protecting trees from development should be developed“ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2003 ( Environmental Action Plan) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>recommends tree inventory, updating tree by-law to protect natural features and developing guidelines to protect trees during construction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2005 ( Council resolution) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>asks staff to prepare funding request for urban forest study and tree maintenance program </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2007 ( Strategic Plan Goal 6.6) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ A biodiverse city with the highest tree canopy among comparable cities” </li></ul></ul>Guelph’s policies and intentions
  32. 32. <ul><li>In 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Guelph is still losing trees and canopy due to high impact development and no protective tree policy </li></ul><ul><li>18 years of inaction on many plans has resulted in the removal of thousands of trees from our canopy </li></ul>Guelph’s current situation
  33. 33. 40% tree canopy is advised for cities to withstand the negative effects of climate change Guelph currently has about 27% tree canopy New plantings take 20-25 years before they add to canopy
  34. 34. Hanlon Creek, headwaters of the Grand River, where development plans to mass-grade hundreds of acres that will result in the loss of moraine features, 1700 mature trees, 33 acres of canopy and 6 acres of wetland Environmental Implementation Report 2009
  35. 35. In June 2009, a local developer leveled over 60 acres of forest that had been identified as a critical linkage between the Hanlon Creek and Mill Creek Hanlon Creek Subwatershed Study,1993
  36. 36. <ul><li>Many cities have stronger tree bylaws than Guelph including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Toronto </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mississauga </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Waterloo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Richmond Hill </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kingston </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oakville </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Barrie </li></ul></ul>~260 year old Maple
  37. 37. What our city needs to do <ul><li>Pass a tree bylaw to provide oversight and protection from further loss of canopy </li></ul><ul><li>Establish an Urban Forestry Department </li></ul><ul><li>Hire a certified forester </li></ul><ul><li>Promote Low Impact Development and Shade Policy </li></ul>Bullring, University of Guelph
  38. 38. What can individuals do? <ul><li>Demand good construction practice </li></ul><ul><li>Inform builders about the benefits of LID </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of zoning notices </li></ul><ul><li>Be active before the construction starts </li></ul><ul><li>Talk with your neighbours about LID and Shade Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Boycott developers who do not use LID </li></ul><ul><li>Contact your elected officials about your concerns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>visit for email and phone contact info for mayor, councillors and city planners </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Support tree advocacy, protection and shade policy <ul><li>Guelph Urban Forest Friends can be contacted at </li></ul><ul><li>Or visit us under the Big Umbrella at the Guelph Farmers Market on Saturday mornings </li></ul>
  40. 40. For A Sustainable Guelph