—-Municipal Candidate Survey—- MIKE OPARA

Bracebridge – Mayor

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

I am running for Mayor of Bracebridge. By running I am bringing attention to the serious environmental issues facing Bracebridge and greater Muskoka. Our local environment is facing the greatest threats in its history – the proposed Mega Quarry, the Muskoka Royale development a provincially significant wetland, destruction of wildlife habitat and forests by blasting and clearcutting to be replaced by suburban type sprawl, mega developments near and on our shorelines. There appears to be complete willful blindness by the District of Muskoka and Town of Bracebridge to environmental issues including the unnecessary paving over of shorelines (300 metres of Muskoka River shoreline in an upcoming project) destruction of turtle habitat and nests. They just don’t seem to care.

I have been active locally to protect wilderness, forests, wildlife habitat including turtle habitat as a founding member, active member, or active supporter of:

  • The Fraserburg Road Turtle Protection Group and fight to prevent the paving over of shoreline.
  • The No Muskoka Mega Quarry (current Fowler Quarry expansion) project in Bracebridge that has huge environmental, health and safety implications for our local air and water (600 diesel truck trips a day, diesel soot and silica dust throughout Town, blasting that disrupts, wildlife and our peace and tranquility, 850 acres of forest destroyed, 40 acres of wetland destroyed and degradation to our watershed and water supply.
  • The fight to preserve the historic Woodchester house and adjacent old growth forest of 150 year old trees known as Bird Grove.
  • South Bracebridge Environmental Group fighting the Muskoka Royale project
  • In Toronto I actively worked to preserve parkland, open spaces and historic buildings. I held senior positions on residents groups and was Vice Chair of Confederation of Resident and Ratepayers of Toronto.

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

There are new competitive construction methods that have near zero carbon footprint and use very little energy to heat and cool. Muskoka could be a technological showpiece for such construction methods and designs.

Individual houses and developments should be built with sustainability in mind. For example, consider area geothermal heating and cooling. Developments that require minimal outside energy. Why are we still using
asphalt for driveways when there are environmentally superior solutions that blend into the landscape.

Developers have been given hundreds of millions of development charge waivers in Muskoka. Their response
has been to blast and clearcut and then build high carbon footprint houses.

End urban sprawl. Bad for the our natural environment, bad for wildlife and doesn’t create real communities that have walkable access to shops and services. Build walkable communities.

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

Refuse the zoning for the Mega Quarry which all current Councillors and the Mayor are supporting.

Review Muskoka Royale zoning which all current Councillors and Mayor all approved. This was a terrible decision.

The municipality needs a decarbonization plan for all of its operations. Both short term and long term.

Review the Bracebridge Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw with sustainability as a key factor in any official plan and zoning approvals. The plan should require full protection of all species at risk and endangered species. This should also be a key determinant in any application for change of zoning and site plan approval.

Review Bracebridge Town operations with sustainability as a key factor. The new plan should require full protection of all species at risk and endangered species. This should also be a key determinant in any public works project.

End clearcutting and blasting.