insight guelph - spring/summer 2007

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Read Insight Guelph for updates on Guelph issues, community events, seasonal programs, activities and local services.


  • In this issue

    Healthy landscapes, healthy communityIts spring, and that means more of us are living life out-doors. For many, spring brings with it the pleasures of the gar-den; that long-awaited season after months of cold when we can don gardening gloves and put shovel to earth. Regard-less of whether you like to get down and dig yourself, or enjoy the splendour of other gardeners efforts, chances are youve heard about the issue of pesticide use and po-tential alternatives.

    Alternatives to pesticidesAfter several years of study, best practices review, and input from various segments of the commun-ity, Guelph City Council recently ap-proved a by-law that will phase out the non-essential, or cosmetic, use of pesticides in the city.

    The by-law takes into account the pesticide by-laws of the cities of Wat-erloo, London, Toronto and Peterbor-ough; and the towns of Oakville and Newmarket. As a result, Guelphs

    pesticide by-law is consistent with those in other communities.

    A phase-out and eventual ban of the non-essential use of pesticides will happen gradually over a three year period, with an early focus of educat-ing residents about alternatives.

    Efforts to help Guelph residents understand how they can have gor-geous gardens and lawns without chemical pesticides are already underway. In May, the City hosted the first in a group of Healthy Land-scape workshops with Dr. Eric

    Lyons, Assistant Professor with the University of Guelphs Department of Plant Agricul-ture. Close to 100 Guelph resi-dents attended the workshops in May, and an additional ses-sion has been scheduled for June. Additional sessions will be scheduled as needed. Residents interested in at-tending should refer to the City News pages in the Friday edition of the Guelph Tribune for more information.

    Asking for your inputTo gauge Guelph residents opin-ions about the issue, the City went to the phones in mid-May to hear what you had to say in response to the proposed by-law. More than 400 randomly selected households participated in a telephone survey on the issue.

    The City welcomes your feedback on this important topic. For more information, or to learn how you can share your opinion, visit > quick link pesticides.

    Laura Baily Ward 1 City Councillor

    4Working together to make a differenceTogether, local governments and people can make change for the better


    Boulevard plantings beautify neighbourhoods(and take less elbow grease than mowing!)

    If youre tired of mowing the grass on your boulevard, why not join the growing ranks of Guelph residents who are planting boulevard gardens. Besides looking great, boulevard gardens also use less water than lawn.

    The keys to a successful boulevard garden include the use of native plants, hardy drought resistant perennials, ground covers and mulch. Here are some suggested plants that are ideal for planting in boulevards:

    Shady Boulevards: Hostas, English Ivy and Spotted Deadnettle.

    Full Sun Boulevards: Yarrows, Hens-and-Chicks, Sundrops, Sedums, Daylilies, Evening Primrose, Lambs Ears, Cinquefoil, Moss Pink, Wormwood, and herbs such as Borage, Parsley, Oregano or Thyme.

    Native Plants: Barren Strawberry, Pussytoes, Wild Ginger, Wild Columbine, and Foamflower.

    Groundcovers: Sweet Woodruff, Pachysandra, Ajuga, and White Clover.

    When planting a boulevard garden, make sure you dont create a hazard to pedestrians by having plants, shrubs and hedges hanging over ditches, shoulders or sidewalks. To ensure that boulevard plants dont obstruct views, they have to be maintained at a height of no more than 0.8 metres. While low growing hedges and shrubs can be planted, they should be kept at least one metre away from fire hydrants, shoulders and curbs. Further, plants, hedges or shrubs near hydrants have to be main-tained at a height of no more than 0.3 metres.

    You can use hard landscaping material such as pav-ers, stone, gravel, concrete, and asphalt, but keep it at the same height as the ground elevation around it. For more information on the Citys by-law require-ments for boulevard planting, visit > quick link encroachment.

    Other useful information for boulevard gardening can be found at the Waterloo-Wellington Wildflower Societys website at, the Guelph Boulevard Club website at, and the Master Gardeners website at

    English Ivy Evening Primrose Hens-and-Chicks

    This issue of Insight Guelph is dedicated

    to the memory of Laura Baily,

    who valued her community, and in

    her own way, helped to make it a great

    place to call home.

    3Get gardening naturally

    Your garden can be green in more ways than one

    Insight Guelph

    6Guelphs Community

    Energy Plan;a commitment to use energy more wisely,

    help fight climate change

    Spring/Summer 2007

  • Insight Guelph Spring/Summer 20072

    Laura BailyWard 1 City CouncillorDecember 1, 2003 to November 30, 2006 February 13, 2007 to March 24, 2007

    From the Mayor

    Welcome to the spring/summer edition of Insight Guelph!Youll notice that this is a green edition of Insight Guelph, with information on a number of environment-related initiatives and issues in our city. I am proud to be the mayor of a city that is known around the country for its environmental leadership, and I know many of you are proud of our reputation too.

    In the recently-completed listening phase of Guelphs strategic planning pro-cess, which involved consultation with hun-dreds of residents and businesses, the environment was a theme that came up again and again. Clearly, this is an area where you believe Guelph can make a difference.

    Recently, I was proud to accept two cer-tificates of recognition from Ontarios Chief Energy Conservation Officer, Peter Love.

    The first was presented to recognize Councils adoption of the Community En-ergy Plan a plan that puts Guelph on the cutting edge for North America. Under the plans challenging but realistic targets, Guelph could use less energy in 25 years than it does today - even with expected residential growth of 65,000 people - and cut its annual greenhouse emissions by nine tonnes per person. City staff is now beginning work on implementing the dir-ections in the plan.

    I was pleased to accept the second cer-tificate on behalf of the residents of Guelph for your support of the Project Porchlight initiative. This project saw more than 150 volunteers distribute 10,000 en-ergy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs to households. This fall, Project Porchlight will be undertaken city-wide.

    In this edition of Insight Guelph, youll find information about another important green issue: pesticides. Given the grow-ing awareness of the health and environ-mental impacts of chemical pesticides, City Council has approved a by-law that will phase out the use of non-essential cosmetic pesticides. The by-law is not meant to penalize homeowners with ser-ious infestations, and would provide ex-ceptions for those cases. But generally, you can keep your lawn and garden healthy with environmentally-sound alternatives. This issue of Insight Guelph gives you some tips to do just that.

    I hope you enjoy the charmed seasons of spring and summer in our city. If you have any feedback or questions, please send me an e-mail at or call 519-837-5643.

    Mayor Karen Farbridge

    neighbourhoods thrive when everyone respects their planned features

    Boulevard Parks and Greenways

    Grass cutting


    Removal of living fences

    Planting (less than 0.8 m)


    Building structures (e.g. sheds)

    Demarcation Markers

    Living Fence

    Parks and Greenways


    Private Property



    City Lands

    Private Property

    City Lands

    Laura and her two daughters, Tori (left) and Vaniglia (right), at the 2005 Clean & Green Community Clean-up.

    Residential neighbourhoods are conceived and designed with a tremendous amount of thought and planning. In many cases, they are carefully created to include a variety of fea-tures such as parks, storm water management ponds and corridors, and wetlands. The City of Guelph owns these public spaces or City lands in your neighbourhood and most others across the city. Its the Citys responsibility to ensure City lands are used for their intended purposes. Doing so has a great number of health, wellness and environmental benefits that are important to everybody.

    When people interfere with neighbourhood features, its called encroachment. Encroach-ment refers to the gradual trespass on anothers

    property. The City of Guelph has a by-law in place that prohibits a variety of encroachment activities. Encroachment activities might seem harmless, but they have the potential to cause significant problems. You can help preserve an important balance in your neigh-bourhood by avoiding encroachment activ-ities, and by informing the City if you see them taking place.

    Be a good neighbourEnsuring that City lands continue to thrive and play a role in your neighbourhoods healthy growth requires that residents adopt the view that a good neighbour is one who would not harm or change anothers property without their permission. Similarly, the City asks you to inform it of any problem activities on City lands so they may be addressed. The City of Guelph is committed to the maintenance of City lands. Theyre there to be enjoyed by everyone. Please help us ensure this is the case.

    For more information contactCity of Guelph, Realty ServicesCall: 519-822-1260, ext. 2279Web: > quick link encroachment