Gravenhurst — Councillor — Ward 5
1. What actions have you personally taken to support a greener, more sustainable climate?
From 2015 – 2020 I was a Director at Muskoka Conservancy and worked towards securing land as part of a migrating path for species as well as continuing to protect Muskoka’s natural areas. During that time, I created the Little Sprouts eco-club which has grown to nearly 600 parents that follow along online and approx. 50 – 60 children that attend our monthly outings and learn how to be stewards of nature.
In 2017, I helped to co-create Reusable Revolution with the purpose of educating the public on how to reduce and divert household and commercial waste and live a zero-waste lifestyle. we have presented to groups like Rotary, Probus, Muskoka Brewery etc.
In 2020, I created the Trash Walking Cup Count in Muskoka – a group that picks up littered coffee cups and counts them. To date we have picked up over 6,000 littered cups in our area. I am also on the committee for Muskoka Earth Festival and a huge supporter of Climate Action Muskoka.
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: opportunities for retrofitting / increasing building efficiencies
Housing: new builds must keep as much green space as possible (i.e. unneccessary clearcutting), District housing – look for opportunities to turn empty buildings into housing,
Land use (sprawl): plans need to include walking / biking trails to connect to the urban centres, (see housing – clearcutting etc.)
Transportation: initiatives for a cycle / walk friendly community – rent-a-bike options, ride share programs (between communities)
Other: Event spaces need to include proper waste diversion – either offered through the Town or the vendor must include as part of their agreement and hire a company to do so.
3. A long-term problem requires a long-term solution. What is your 100-year plan? If elected, what would be your first action?
We need to stop looking at recycling as the way forward and start recognizing the only way out of this is in reducing our waste altogether. Expanding refillable programs to include daily purshased items such as windsheild washer fluids, dairy / bulk juice options etc. Return-for-refund bottles and cans etc. Creating these programs now will drastically reduce our waste, which cuts our greenhouse gas emissions, cuts back on the energy used to help recycle the products and creates a circular economy.
If elected, what would be your first action? I would like to see the rental agreements amended to include the vendor’s responsibility to provide waste diversion. We can no longer accept styrofoam clamshells tossed in waste bins, cans and bottles thrown in the garbage at public events because there is no other option. We know better, we can do better.