Huntsville – Mayor
1. What actions have you personally taken to support a greener, more sustainable climate?
On a personal level, I recently built a house with a smaller footprint and it has been built with the maximum amount of insulation, has an electric heat pump and all windows are triple glazed. As well, I updated my appliances and now have an induction stove top. As we don’t have green compost collection I have my own compost for all of my food scraps. It is my intention that my next vehicle will be an all electric or at the very least a hybrid electric.
As a District Councillor I was one of the two councillors who moved the motion for the Declaration of a Climate Emergency. This motion was subsequently adopted by the Town of Huntsville Council. In the last term of Council I advocated for the position of a Climate Change Coordinator at the District of Muskoka. Consequently, the District was able to produce a strategy for addressing climate change resulting in “A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy” (A New Leaf), which is a set of integrated directions and practical actions proposed to manage and reduce Muskoka’s contribution to climate change, and to prioritize adaptation goals, actions, and programs to prevent or minimize the impacts of projected local level. I fully support the ongoing work of the upper and lower tier working group responsible for implementing this strategy. This strategy includes such actions as assessing the resiliency of existing infrastructure to the impact of climate threats such as severe weather events.
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
Land Use, Housing and Active Transportation
As Chair of the town’s planning committee, I was part of the working group preparing the overall direction of the updated Official Plan in 2019. A main principle is focused on Huntsville’s need to be resilient and to ensure all future development is in line with sustainable practices. Both the revised district Official Plan and the Town of Huntsville Plan direct the majority of new residential development to the urban settlement areas to allow for higher densities and to utilize existing sewer and water services. Directing development to the settlement areas also supports the use of Huntsville’s public transit system.
I have always supported the ongoing review of making our public transit system as efficient as possible to allow for greater usage. As we continue to build new neighbourhoods, we consistently try to align the transit route with these developments.
As well, when reviewing new development applications, I am consistent in my input regarding the need for active transportation corridors to be included in these new developments and the absolute necessity of connecting these corridors with existing trails/walkways throughout our community. Active transportation has been a critically important piece of all our ongoing discussions at our planning committee. If elected, it is my intention to revive the Active Transportation study prepared for the Town of Huntsville, which was subsequently incorporated into the 2019 Official Plan to identify recommendations that still need to be implemented.
3. A long-term problem requires a long-term solution. What is your 100-year plan? If elected, what would be your first action?
Continue to support the work of the District led Climate Change Working Committee to ultimately incorporate short, medium and long-term recommendations into the town’s policies and programs. There are so many recommendations coming out of this working group that will need to be reviewed to determine the best way to move forward. One such example is encouraging the incorporation of low impact development features and green infrastructure into new developments.
From an organizational perspective, I believe we have a lot of knowledge within our community and I would like to draw on this expertise. As a member of the Muskoka Watershed Council, I recognize how much can be accomplished by a volunteer based organization, as long as it has the support of the municipality. It is my intention to create a citizen led working committee with a focus on environmental and climate change related initiatives, with staff support, to review, update and incorporate new policies using Huntsville’s Unity Plan as a baseline and new policy recommendations from the District led Climate Change working group. Through this process, it’s my hope we will be able to develop a long-term vision and implementation plan.