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2022 Municipal Elections

In September, Pollination Guelph sent a short, three-question survey to all 46 candidates running for Mayor or Council in Guelph. The survey questions were:

1) If you are elected/re-elected in the municipal election in October, what measures would you propose or support to increase pollinator habitat on city property such as parks and natural areas?

2) Commercial and industrial properties, such as those in Guelph’s business parks, are often surrounded by large areas of turf grass and a very limited range of trees, shrubs and flowering plants that offer little habitat for pollinators, birds and other wildlife. What specific changes could be made to the planning/development process to increase the amount of pollinator habitat on these sites?

3) What is your favourite pollinator?

Eighteen (was sixteen) candidates sent in responses to our survey.  You can click on the candidates below (or scroll down) to view their responses:

Danny Drew - Mayor Candidate

John Edward Krusky - Mayor Candidate

Shelagh McFarlane - Mayor Candidate

Michelle Bowman - Ward 1 Candidate

Erin Caton - Ward 1 Candidate

Morgan Dandie - Ward 2 Candidate

Rodrigo Goller - Ward 2 Candidate

Ray Ferraro - Ward 2 Candidate

Phil Allt - Ward 3 Candidate

Kevin Bowman - Ward 3 Candidate

Sam Elmslie - Ward 3 Candidate

Michele Richardson - Ward 3 Candidate

Linda Busuttil - Ward 4 Candidate

Adrian Salvatore - Ward 4 Candidate

Leanne Caron- Ward 5 Candidate

Cathy Downer - Ward 5 Candidate
Chetna Robinson - Ward 6 Candidate

Dominique O'Rourke - Ward 6 Candidate

Candidate Responses:

2010 - present

Danny Drew - Mayor Candidate
  1. I intend to alter the city policy on maintenance of public greenspace such that the amount of landscaping that's done is reduced greatly. Mowing, string-trimming, "weed" killing, etc. It may be an unpopular proposal at first, as people's aesthetic sensibilities are tuned to clean, trim grass, but to have plants growing a they please in places will be a huge relief to our strained animal and plant populations, as well as saving on labour, money, and emissions.
    Alongside this, the easing of property standards pertaining to yard maintenance is something I'd like to bring to council as mayor at some point. For example: It'd be nice to see more full-gardens or quasi-'wild' yards as opposed to endless sprawls of suburban lawn, and people shouldn't be raking leaves until the summer after they've fallen, if at all. Animals need the insulation, and the soil needs the nutrients.

  2. We ought to be able to include clauses in contracts with developers that put requirements for such matters on their work. I'd love to have native food trees be more common in general, for example, and these wastelands of turf you speak of shouldn't be tolerated.

  3. I think it's got to be a classic: The bumble bee (it their many variations).

John Edward Krusky - Mayor Candidate
  1. I would support any motion in council for increasing the amount of trees and plants in public parks, and in other city property areas.

  2. The municipality could offer a reasonable tax incentive to businesses which take measures to increase pollinator habitat on their business properties in the city.

  3. My favourite pollinator would have to be the hummingbird. It is always impressive how they are able to hover in the air by beating their wings so quickly.

Shelagh McFarlane - Mayor Candidate
  1. I am not running for or against any issues as I don’t know them all yet. I am running to restore the local government authority and financial control so our local issues can be resolved. Right now, we are under a global agenda via GLOBAL MAYOR partnerships and this must end if you want funding or support. We can’t ignore this anymore.

  2. We can do anything we want once we regain control of the local purse strings. There are lots of people interested in getting back to a more natural & peaceful local agenda where our money stays here & doesn’t leave town to finance United Nations’ global sustainable development goals & we are controlled by private foreign investors.

  3. The hummingbird.

Michelle Bowman - Ward 1 Candidate
  1. To increase pollinator habitat on city property, I would continue to promote existing city programs as well as consult with advocates about new initiatives.
    The 2022 report to renew Guelph’s Bee City status is a good summary of existing programs, practices and partnerships to promote pollinator habitat on public as well as private property. Programs related to city property include community gardens, urban forestry and planting native herbaceous seedlings. Practices include decreased pesticide use, invasive species removal, and storm-water pond rehabilitation.
    I would be keen on inviting Pollination Guelph and other advocates such as Trees for Guelph, University of Guelph researchers, Conservation Authority representatives, native plant businesses, interested citizens and others to participate in a town hall to discuss ideas to enhance pollinator habitat on public and private property. For example, how can we promote naturalization and urban farming in Guelph?

  2. Increased pollinator habitat on commercial and industrial properties can be incentivised and/ or mandated in the Official City Plan, Secondary Plans and Natural Heritage Strategy with facilitation from the Environmental Planning Department. In addition to incentives and mandates, I think many commercial and industrial property owners would be open to voluntarily increasing pollinator habitat.

  3. I am going to cheat and say my favorite thing to see is a diversity of pollinators but I do enjoy the well-known ones - the Common Eastern Bumble Bee, Monarch Butterfly and Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Erin Caton - Ward 1 Candidate
  1. I would really like to turn boulevards into pollinator gardens. We would need to ensure they are all shorter varieties to keep with safety and line of sight issues, but it would be both beneficial to pollinators and ultimately cost less in ongoing maintenance if we chose well. A mixture of flowering plants and edible perennials would help towards balancing our pollinator ecosystem as well as the circular food economy. Rather than spending money on mowing, we could be helping the insects and arguably, a boulevard of flowers is more attractive than grass. 
    I also support an increase of community gardens in parkland, and many vegetables are flowering plants. Having companion planting near the gardens would help both the output of produce and the pollinators alike. Policies that are good for pollinators are good for people. We need to be good neighbours to people, animals and insects.

  2. In keeping with our need to lower emissions in Guelph, ensuring mature trees are prioritized to be saved when designing new builds is very important. We need to be talking to developers in advance of them creating designs and designating heritage areas within the property that have ecological importance. Trees have heritage value and that should be a part of our protection planning. Additionally we need to focus on native plants that do well in our climate and ensure that there is a preferred planting policy in place. We have a tendency to think of trees in terms of maintenance and not in terms of ecological value. Those policies need to be revisited. Employees need mental health breaks throughout the day and having the option to step outside into a diverse natural space would increase productivity. Education on the value of nature as an employee retention tool could help them want to add it into their designs and plans without mandates. However, we do need base standards for new commercial builds to include a range of habitat friendly plants. 

  3. It's hard to pick, and I don't think this is a popular choice, but I love the parasitic wasp. White cabbage moths are my gardening nemesis and I grow a lot of kale every year to make dairy free 'cheesy kale chips' for me and my daughter to last the whole winter. Without fail, the white moth/butterflies are all over my kale. I started companion planting goldenrod, yarrow and thyme to attract the wasps that deal with the caterpillars and their eggs, and it seems to have helped quite a lot. Now I just have to figure out the aphids. 

Morgan Dandie - Ward 2 Candidate
  1. I believe Staff is already working to expand naturalized areas within our parks system, and I believe that when Clair-Maltby is built out, the Moraine Ribbon will be an excellent opportunity to provide plantings to encourage a Pollinator Highway. We need to provide as much green space as possible as our population grows and combining the tree canopy goals with pollinator gardens would be something I would propose. By combining indigenous trees with indigenous pollinator gardens as a requirement in all new development, we will create a healthier city for everyone.

  2. I love this question! When traveling around the city seeing vast swaths of monoculture grass lawns, I have often questioned why companies pay to maintain the "neatness" of a manicured lawn around their offices and manufacturing facilities rather than have indigenous plantings that create visual interest as well as provide opportunities for pollinators to travel; or maybe fruit trees if the soil allows. This is the question that really made me start to think even more outside the planter box. Re-evaluating the by-laws regarding Industrial Parks and adjusting what needs to be adjusted to help meet our climate goals would include looking at how best to increase the pollinator presence in Guelph.

  3. My favourite pollinator is the Black Swallowtail. I chose this butterfly because my namesake, the younger sister of my best friend from age 5 - 7, has been contributing to the breed population by helping e-close at least six or seven this season as part of her heritage as a Cree woman.

Rodrigo Goller - Ward 2 Candidate
  1. These are the actions I would support to increase our pollinator habitat on City property:
    a) Update our municipal policy on boulevard gardens to encourage more people to plant pollinator gardens 
    b) Direct City staff to participate in EarthRoots' Pollinator Highway program, which has identified Highway 6 (the Hanlon) as a future Pollinator Highway
    c) Direct our Parks department to increase the amount of naturalized pollinator gardens in all City Parks
    And these are the things I would do to encourage more pollinators being planted in residential properties:
    a) Ask that our Healthy Landscapes program set targets for the number of front lawns that are converted to pollinator gardens each year, and that those numbers be reported to City Council
    b) Expand the Rain Garden grant program to encourage more people to plant rain gardens on their properties

  2. I think there are two things that Council should do to get more pollinators and wildlife habitats in our commercial and industrial properties: 
    a) City Council should direct City staff to update the City of Guelph's StormWater Rebate program for commercial and industrial properties, to include planting pollinator gardens and creating natural habitats. 
    b) As part of our zoning bylaw, "Landscaped Open Space" is defined as "land that contributes toward stormwater management, tree canopy cover, and biodiversity by being used for the growth and maintenance of grass, flowers, trees, shrubbery, natural vegetation and native species and other landscaping and includes any buffer strip, surfaced walk, surface patio, green roof, swimming pool or similar area, but does not include any access driveway, ramp, parking area or any open space within any building or structure." Guelph City Council could require that a portion or all of the Landscaped Open Space be made up of pollinator plants and natural habitats for insects and birds, and we could put restrictions on how much grass can cover those landscaped open spaces. 

  3. I love lavender! It's a lovely pollinator which can be left into spring to add body and colour to pollinator gardens over the fall and into winter. 

Ray Ferraro - Ward 2 Candidate
  1. In all honesty - I do not have any knowledge of the requirements to protect and increase Pollination. I have just been reading about the importance of this. If elected -I would listen to experts and support their recommendations.  

  2. No response given

  3. No response given

Phil Allt - Ward 3 Candidate
  1. I am supportive of both naturalizing and ensuring that the appropropriate plants are located in city parks. My wife and I have a pollinator garden; I have just realized that cities are both centres for sustaining pollinators, monarch and other butterflies and, in an area of monoculture, cities are centres of biological diversification. I cannot count the number of species of plant living on our small lot but I am quite aware that with mono cultures surrounding Guelph and other large cities we must ensure that urban green spaces are not just green but biologically diverse.

  2. That is an interesting challenge. Frankly if you look at #1 above we need to urge biodiversification wherever possible. I’m a fan of green space but not a fan of monoculture parks, commercial centres and industrial parks. Furthermore we need to re-evaluate the use of asphalt in large developments. Semi permeable surfaces have many attractive features beyond water recharge that can turn parking lots into pollinator friendlier (not friendly) areas, homes for ground bees etc. Even clover growing within these areas provides sustenance for insects.

  3. Ground bees. We keep leaves on our lawn in winter to ensure that these can winter over. Note: I have many favourite pollinators but the ground bee has become a cause célèbre for me. I get a buzz from bees.

Kevin Bowman - Ward 3 Candidate
  1. If elected, I would very much support the maintenance and expansion of existing pollinator habitats as well as the creation of new pollinator habitats. Specifically, I would like to see areas that are currently covered in turf that do not see much pedestrian traffic or recreational use converted to perennial, native species. Ideally a mix of some trees, bushes/shrubs and also grassland/meadow species. Hedgerows can be a wonderful habitat for many species including pollinators. Some of these species could even be food producing varieties!

  2. I think there should be stricter requirements on developers to maintain existing habitats whenever possible. Often an entire site is bulldozed from edge to edge to create a "clean slate" and make building as easy as possible but the result is large areas of turf that are ecologically poor and contribute to runoff and water management problems. Those sites that have already been turned into open areas of turf should be converted to a mix of perennial, native species: trees, bushes/shrubs and grassland/meadow species.

  3. If I had to choose a favourite pollinator it would be the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth. They are rather alien looking but also beautiful.

Sam Elmslie - Ward 3 Candidate
  1. I think this is such a great letter. I'm kind of done with grass lawns. We're in a crisis. As long as traffic can see to move, then I think lawns should be converted to pollinating plants, on an optional basis. I think city property should pivot to pollinating plants from grass, wherever possible. I would support most motions to increase pollinating plants from other options. My only concern is road visibility. Otherwise, I'm fully on board. 

  2. I think as we've seen, there hasn't been as much need to mow lawns this year. If we could convert some of this space to pollinator-friendly plants, then we could possibly cut eventual costs and also be helping out the environment. Since running for council, I have to say, this is my favourite email, and the one that has gotten me the most excited for municipal politics. Thank you. 

  3. Tell me what's cooler than a hummingbird and I won't believe you... but I'll wait for the answer.

Michele Richardson - Ward 3 Candidate
  1. If elected in order to increase pollinator habitat on city property I would propose hydroseeding for areas that are not being mowed with species that promote pollinator habitats. I would support trees and shrubs and diversity will be important as well.  I would also want to look at areas that are currently being mowed to see if there are areas where we can stop mowing and support natural growth.

  2. For Commercial properties I think it would be great if the planning department could offer suggestions for landscaping of commercial properties so the landscaping surrounding these properties create pollinator habitats. Many entrances to industrial businesses have lovely gardens out front and education on pollinator gardens would be very helpful. It may require some collaboration between developers and the planning process. Another thought is to provide free seeds or seedlings that are good pollinators.

  3. My favourite pollinator would have to be the bumble bee even though I know the mason bee is a much better pollinator, but the bumble bee is definitely cuter. LOL

Linda Busuttil - Ward 4 Candidate
  1. My husband and I are active volunteers in the woodlot by our home, tree planting, invasive species pulls, and city parks clean & green activities. It would be ideal to have some joint planning, if we are tree planting in the spring and fall, can we plant pollinators at the same time in the parks and woodlots? I am not aware of layered plans*, city forest canopy and pollinator planting plans and would hope that this is a possibility.
    I also believe that there are opportunities for Pollinator education and planting with schools and other public agencies. Once again if tree planting is taking place in the fall and spring with Trees for Guelph, city, schools, and students can partnerships be extended to include perennial pollinators?
    From my experience with Castlebury Park and the adjacent vacant UGDSB property would be ideal to have areas such as this one naturalized with pollinators. Our community organization ran a summer high school program in the area, students noticed the pollinators one day and the next day complained that they had been cut down. With community consultation, areas such as this unused property could be used for pollinator planting.
    As a member of a Garden the Pollination Guelph partnership with the city’s Community Garden Network facilitates access to ‘seed’ money to add a perennial garden to the food producing site and engage school children in the process. This has also helped conversations with gardeners who did not understand the benefit of pollinators.
    *In a follow up response, Linda mentioned receiving a letter from the city with information about a tree planting in Marksam Park with specific reference to planting wildflowers in the park (the letter also linked the volunteer effort to the city's Bee City efforts).

  2. While the city’s Site Plan Design Guidelines speaks to the development’s proposed trees, shrubs and ground cover, there is not a specific reference to Pollinators. There appears to be an opportunity to share the community benefit, natural and cost benefit of Pollinators to applicants during the site plan process. As above, there are opportunities to consult with the community to revisit turf areas in Parks and neighbourhoods and explore a willingness to naturalize. Public education and changing perceptions of turf being ‘neater’ than naturalized pollinators are necessary, as are a review of property. standards by-laws.

  3. New England Aster.

Adrian Salvatore - Ward 4 Candidate
  1. I am supportive of incorporating pollinator habitats on city property, in city parks, and other natural areas. I will work with Staff, and community groups to identify more spaces that can be converted similarly to the Clair Road Emergency Services Centre.

  2. The update of our zoning bylaw provides a great opportunity for us to promote pollinator habitats within the city of Guelph. I will work with the community to ensure that our update to zoning is supportive of creating pollinator habitats. We also have the opportunity to promote pollinator habitat as part of our rain garden program in the city. Rain gardens are extremely beneficial in Guelph as they reduce potential for flooding, reduce burden on municipal storm drain systems, and help recharge groundwater. The city has incentive to promote these gardens both on public and private property to help address our water needs. Promoting the dual use of these gardens, and including pollinator friendly plants would get even more benefit from these spaces.

  3. It’s a tough contest but bats would have to be my favourite pollinator. Many tropical plants are pollinated by bats, such as banana, guava, mango and agave. Agave is one of my favourite plants as I find the unique way in which it flowers fascinating. To my knowledge bats don’t serve as pollinators in southern Ontario, however they are an essential part of our ecosystem. I provide a habitat for them with bat boxes, along with providing habitat for other pollinators in my garden by including many flowering and native plants.

Leanne Caron- Ward 5 Candidate (*late respondent)
  1. I have in the past, and will continue to support, the creation of community gardens, food forest, and native species planting in public spaces. The best thing we can do for our pollinator habitat is to stop destroying it!  This includes wetlands, wildlife corridors, meadows, river banks, and forested areas.  I strongly support the world's largest Pollinator Park at Eastview, and will also advocate for preservation of habitat on the Innovation District lands.

  2. We need stronger bylaws to prevent removal of existing species, as well as low-impact development (LID) standards including native planting, berms, swales, and add a requirement for 40% canopy on all undeveloped portions of the land.

  3. The Monarch.  I had the privilege of travelling to  Cerro Pelón, the winter home of Canadian Monarchs in Sierra Madre del sur. The inter-generational migration of monarchs is an evolutionary wonder.

Cathy Downer - Ward 5 Candidate
  1. We should continue to naturalize areas of parks with native pollinator trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Hugh Guthrie Park is a great example of a park that has had an area naturalized with the help of community partners. We are planting 10,000 trees a year in 2022 and 2023 with the help of community groups. Trees can host hundreds of pollinators. I am committed to advocating for this to continue beyond 2023. We, also, need to continue to make investments in the work to eradicate invasive species that threaten our natural areas. One of the next steps in the Urban Forest Management Plan is the Adopt-A-Space programs – a program for citizen/neighbourhood stewardship of naturalized areas of parks.

  2. We should work with the owners of existing businesses to educate them on the opportunities to help our environment through the planting of native gardens and trees. The Healthy Landscape Program includes businesses, but many only consider it a residential program. I would like to see the City do more outreach and expand the program to make it more effective on commercial and industrial properties with a focus on pollinator gardens and trees. The City should be leading by example on our own land where we have facilities. In order to achieve our goal of a 40% tree canopy, we will need the cooperation of private landowners. City Staff will be coming forward with recommendations on how we can work along with the community towards achieving this goal. Our tree protection bylaw needs an update to include lots under ½ acre. This is also coming forward in 2023. I am committed to ensuring the recommendations are implemented.
    I would like us to educate and work with developers on pollinator friendly landscape designs. I don’t think there is enough focus on this. Also, other municipalities require a tree canopy cover plan with minimum standards for development applications. I would like to Guelph develop and implement a similar policy. There is really so much more we can do.

  3. Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly.

Chetna Robinson - Ward 6 Candidate
  1. The care and protection of pollinators needs to be a city-wide project. We have done an excellent job of supporting pollinator habitats and I love that the city has included education with many of the demonstration pollinator gardens. The PG plantings sites are inspirational, definitely some of my favourite spots to read. 
    Empowering our citizens to create their own pollinator gardens works - it helps people choose the right flowers and shows support for a different type of lawn. If elected, I plan to approach City staff about creating corridors of favourable habitat to enable movement of pollinators in and out of the city. I would also ask for demonstration gardens to establish bare-patch areas for ground-nesting bees - they are not as pretty as the wildflowers, I know, but it’s important for people to know that different pollinators need different things. I would also advocate for green roofs - we need to get gardens anywhere we can. It is not realistic to procure hectares of land, and green roofs provide many benefits as well as pollinator homes.

  2. We can utilize these areas to promote native floral abundance, and that needs to be built in from the get-go. We’ve seen from the MetalWorks condominium that we can incorporate pollinator gardens into the landscaping of the city. As councillor, I would review all development applications and insist on incorporating greenspace that encourages and cares for native pollinators. 

  3. Leafcutter bees. They cut circles out of flowers and use them to make little apartments, how amazing is that. They’re very gentle and excellent pollinators because the pollen sticks to their whole abdomen. I planted a few hostas this year to give them leaves, I hope they enjoyed!

Dominique O'Rourke - Ward 6 Candidate (*late respondent)
  1. This is not my area of expertise and I rely on our professional staff to propose these measures, likely in collaboration with Pollination Guelph.

  2. Again, this is an area where we would have to direct staff to study the best approaches and come back with recommendations and budgets. I could imagine an excellent partnership with the Guelph Chamber to raise awareness and to encourage the ICI sector’s participation.

  3. Definitely bumble bees!

Danny Drew
John Krusky
Ray F
Michelle B
Erin C
Morgan D
Rodrigo G
Phil A
Kevin B
Sam E
Michele R
Linda B
Adrian S

2010 - present

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