Agreed that it's ridiculously cheap to cut down a tree. Despite our lauded bylaws, bad stories still happen often. I'm not sure though that age is the single best way to determine what should be kept, though.
1. I'm trying hard not to anthropomorphize here. A vacant lot filled with tall, old, crowded and unhealthily spindly trees that were unwisely planted at the same time ought to be able to be thinned to a more healthy number without cost. Aesthetics/tree health ought to be a determinant somehow. Similarly, there are many old trees that have been amputated, not pruned, over the years, and in their resulting lack of heath they ought not to be valued over a younger tree that has had more sane treatment and is not suffering. It seems we haven't fully codified in law many features that most residents already can agree on, but maybe it can be done with some work?
2. A rising cost, especially on a logarithmic scale, while it may be appropriate by community value, also encourages removing trees now before they get older and more $$$ to remove. Need some offsetting factors to encourage retention of trees-- in rural Ontario for example there used to be a program that gave a reduction on property tax in proportion to trees kept on the land.
I think cost is probably an issue. Also, I think daylighting fish habitat is not just about light, but also about food sources and fresh air accessing the water surface. If I'm not mistaken, the fish ideally require some riparian habitat to provide thriving insect/invertebrate life, and also benefit from fresh air in contact with water surface to disperse toxins/maintain oxygen levels.
The City is supportive of this idea, but implementation requires action outside municipal jurisdiction. The City has and will continue to advocate to the Province and ICBC for PAYD and/or other distance-based forms of auto insurance.
While there are good stats supporting the idea that, on average, drivers improve with experience, you don't need stats to appreciate that a car that is not being driven is less likely to be in an accident. ICBC does have an "occasional driver" category, but it is I assume widely abused, and even if drivers are honest, you can still use the car for pleasure for great distances with this category. What's needed is a way to tie the cost of insurance to how much we drive, so as to provide a monetary incentive to drive less. This would not only be good for the environment, it would help clear the roads, and reduce accidents.
Right now I can go a month without driving my car, but still have to pay insurance as if I drove every day. (unless I put the car in a garage somewhere and insure for liability only, which defeats the purpose of having it handy, just in case...)
For evidence against the crime-prevention benefits of street lighting you could start with a British Astronomical Society website that cites a number of UK studies:
This UK study suggests street lights in general improve our fear of the dark, but not actual crime:
And this careful meta-analysis of existing studies, not limited to the UK, show the benefits are at best, mixed:
Street lighting is more about our collective nervousness about darkness than about stopping crime. TV crime shows use darkness for dramatic effect, and I'm afraid many of us through lack of experience have never had the chance to get comfortable with nighttime darkness. I'm sympathetic to people's fears, but really when you think about it, why would criminals be able to see any better on dark sidewalks than young females?
I'd add that research supports the idea that mature trees may:
1. reduce crime/domestic violence
2. increase the prices customers are willing to pay at retail in an area
3. sharply reduce water runoff management costs
Incentives are being considered for homes that are built sustainability and to be energy efficient.
Not specifically part of Draft Greenest City Action Plan, but efficient fixtures and incentives are.