—- Municipal Candidate Survey —- CHARLES COOPER

Lake of Bays Township — District Councillor — Franklin/Sinclair Ward

1.     What actions have you personally taken to support a greener, more sustainable climate?

I directly reduced the phosphate levels in my lake, between 2002 and 2003 (verified by the individual that measures these levels for the MNR). This was accomplished by eliminating all the grass on my property, naturalizing the shoreline and stopped the chemical warfare the previous owner had been doing for decades. My property has transition from mostly grass between the trees to 100% naturalized forest floor with the only grass left covering the septic field.

During 2007 I was able to acquire 1800 white and red pine trees from Westwind Forest Stewardship and arranged volunteers to have them planted on private properties around Tasso, Toad, Camp and Blue Lake.

I also built a Hibernaculum at the corner of North Tasso Lake road and Limberlost road, in 2011, for reptiles, that backs on to a seasonal swamp. This hibernaculum provides housing to many critters during the winter. The goal was to support the local eastern ribbon snake, which is under threat.

2.     What opportunities for climate leadership at the municipal level (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs)) would you champion in one or more of these areas: Buildings | Housing | Land use (sprawl) | Transportation | Other

Buildings: Improve building quality, better insulation and encourage green roofs, thermal solar and other simple changes that can reduce the emissions from buildings.

Housing: There needs to be reasonable rules around development, the population of Ontario is expected to increase by 50% over the next twenty years, what are the local councils within Muskoka doing to prepare for this? Nothing, we need to encourage more housing to be built, allow smaller lot sizes and higher density. Properties without municipal service can still support high density developments, reasonable drinking water and sanitary solutions exist for rural off water properties.

Land use (sprawl): The District of Muskoka should expect 50,000 additional inhabitants over the next two decades based on estimates from Stats Canada. Where are we going to house these future ratepayers? The District and the Townships need to seriously rethink their minimal development mindset and start to encourage creation of high density, off water development. This can be done without sprawl, allow for smaller back lots, allow for eight-unit buildings and inhouse suites. This won’t solve the housing stock shortage but will help bring in more families, which has a knock-on affect of reducing the cost of housing, increasing the pool of workers, additional students and more money spent and kept in the community.

Transportation: Create new infrastructure to support the transition to electric transportation, this will include charging ports and upgraded distribution networks to support charging stations for e-bikes, cars, boats, atvs, snowmobiles and trucks. All of these forms of transportation have electric options and this market will grow. This will then reduce the green house gas emission from millions of individual units and concentrate these emissions to the Electrical Generation stations, which are far fewer in number, this will ensure their emissions can be better monitored and cleaned.

3.     A long-term problem requires a long-term solution. What is your 100-year plan? If elected, what would be your first action?

In a perfect world within 100 years the majority of energy needs for consumers will be from electricity, for housing, transportation, recreation etc. To achieve this goal will require solutions to significant challenges. These challenges are:

  • Sufficient new sources of raw materials for batteries, solar panels and distribution networks, which will require more mining of the required minerals. This will require the development of the Ring of Fire in Northern Ontario and other minerally rich areas of the planet.
  • Creation of manufacturing ecosystems to develop and produce these new transportation, generation and storage systems.
  • North American wide High Voltage DC (HVDC) electrical transmission system that is coordinated between operators, as well with end devices (generation or consumption).
  • Mandate all Electrical vehicles and high demand appliances will be linked to this coordinated HVDC system.
  • All Renewable solutions (wind, hydro, solar etc.) coordinated with the HVDC system Extensive use of regional storage solutions (electrical, thermal or mechanical) linked to the HVDC management system.
  • Replace the vast majority of base load electrical production with hydro generation or small modular nuclear reactors. Molten Salt Reactors and thorium-based fuel appear to be quite promising solutions, with higher efficiencies and minimal waste products.
  • Build denser mixed-use cities and towns where it is reasonable to walk or bike for shopping, school, employment and recreation while placing less reliance on powered transportation.

My first action would be to eliminate any bylaws, official plans or other policies that prevent or conflicts with any of the items above.