—- Municipal Candidate Survey —- MARK QUEMBY

Bracebridge — Councillor — Bracebridge Ward / Ward 1 

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

Generally speaking, I have ensured my home, vehicles and appliances are energy efficient and while I have to admit that my wife does the laundry we do have and use a clothesline and cold water setting on our washer as well as have an indoor clothes rack. We have updated all of our windows, toilets and shower fixtures as well as increased the insulation in our current home to ensure energy efficiency and we keep our water heater turned down.   

My family and I actively participate in repurposing, recyclng as well as composting in our back yard and in the community program. We have committed to not purchasing bottled water and we regularly use reusable bags, cups and mugs. While we do own motarized boats we spend more time recreationally hiking, canoing, paddle boarding, kyaking, swimming, downhill and cross country skiiing and playing sports like pickleball, tennis, hockey just to name a few. I was first elected to town council on a promise to make Bracebridge the Great Outdoors Capital of Ontario and helped volunteers establish our community’s first-ever disc golf course adjascent to Peake Fields, I also initiated and still help maintain the outdoor ice rink at Annie Williams Park. 

Professionally, as an electrician I am very aware of energy usage and have also encouraged energy saving habits in our home and others including using all LED lights or energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. My children will attest that I am regularly unplugging charge cords and electronics when they are not in use. As a small business owner, we work hard a reducing paper and encourage recycling wherever possible.  

While I currently do not own (but would like to), I am also an advocate for electric vehicles. See my advertisement in dockside publishing https://docksidepublishing.com/?s=Quemby+Electric. Dark sky friendly lighting is also an area I am a huge advocate for and have ensured that my own exterior lighting is night sky friendly. 

From a councillor perspective, you may remember from my previous campaign and this campaign, I am an advocate for bike lanes as I believe in walking or cycling whenever possible. Additionally I was the individual who gave the Roundabout Idea at Taylor Road to rethink the number of stop lights and idling that occurs and have advocated for night sky friendly lighting and it is now a requirement in the Town of Bracebridge for new builds. 

As committee chair for Annie Williams Park duing the last decade plus, I led dramatic improvements that included waterfront resoration, the addition of 200 new trees and personally purchased a tree in the park. 

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

I’m inspired to do more with my Great Ourdoors agenda but need more influence at the District level to make it happen. This is where I can directly contrinbute to the District’s active transportation committee and decisions involving our extensive trail connections throughout Muskoka. I can hit the ground running on our shared vision of establishing Muskoka as Ontario’s most healthy and active region, I have served as Bracebridge’s alternate Councillor for the District this entire term and was appointed full-time to District Council in July of this year. In this capacity, I’ve been part of the District’s engineering and public works commitee, As a candidiate for District Council with recent town and District experience to rely on, I’m well positioned to represent you effectively on all District issues including: 

  • In terms of buildings, I will help find ways to encourage the Town of Bracebridge to reduce their carbon footprint. 
  • I have been active in dialogue with Lakeland Power to install super charging stations in the area.    Regarding housing and land use (sprawl) 
  • I support apartments built into every subdivision development and encourage park and green space in every development. 
  • I will help advocate for improved followup on by-law breaches around tree removal and replanting needs. 
  • As per transportation, the move to a District  from a town seat would enable me to have more influence on active transporation and trail issues. 
  • I often receive encouragement from Bracebridge residents to better integrate the needs of cyclists and pedestrians in transporation planning,  This is an obvious fit for me.

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

I am very concerned about the specific threats to the Muskoka environment [tree-cutting, blasting, shoreline erosion, water quality – blue-green algae and phosphorous, overdevelopment] and will work hard to perserve our great outdoors. How you ask? By advocating for properly researched and balanced lake plans for decision makers. Council should be consulting locally prepared lake plans as part of the official planning process and ensure by-laws are being reviewed and enforced with charges and fines. It important that lake plans incorporate and reflect the broader needs of all lake users, not just the interest of those who own the lake properties, This will help position our lakes to provide inclusive recreational opportunities for all those who wish to live and benefit from an active outdoor lifestyle.  We need responsible growth and reduced residential subdivisions on waterfront properties.

  • Encourage the town to maintain their relationship with Muskoka Conservancy or other likewise groups to control lands to ensure adequate green space in years to come. Likewise, my plan is to work with other community action groups to support collaborative efforts 
  • We need an environmentally conscious town – from schooling to business to our homes we need to be teaching world class environmental practices as well as an accountable town council plan that ensures proactive planning for our future growth with transparency at every level of the process. The Town needs to do the planning and not the Developers. 

If elected, what would be your first action?
There are  numerous personal, community and environmental benefits of integrating Active Transportation (AT) into our community. AT provides improvement to physical and mental health and increased social interaction, an increased “sense of community”, increased tourism appeal, decreased traffic, and increased access to community facilities and businesses. The construction and maintenance of trails often brings partners from government, interest groups, schools and other members of the public together, working toward common objectives. The presence of an improved AT infrastructure has the potential to increase community safety as traffic congestion and speed is reduced. 

According to the Muskoka Active Transportation Strategy (revised 2010), AT was also “attributed with playing an important role in downtown revitalization efforts. The promotion of community design that prioritizes the need for pedestrian and cycle routes as well as roads was also reported as leading to an overall healthier population that can also translate into lower overall healthcare costs.”

There are also many benefits of AT from an environmental standpoint including reduced reliance on cars (reducing vehicle emissions/air pollution). In addiition to the economic benefits (of tourism for example), it was also noted that studies have shown that workplaces can benefit from AT as it creates healthier, more positive work environments and lower rates of absenteeism, in addition to reducing the requirements for, and costs of, on-site parking facilities.

Thank you for this opportunity.