Gravenhurst — Councillor — Ward 4
1. What actions have you personally taken to support a greener, more sustainable climate?
As waterfront residents of Muskoka for more than 30+ years, we have never owned a gasoline powerboat, but enjoy living on our motor-free lake, which has been mutually agreed upon by all the owners on our small lake. We enjoy using electric motors and paddling. Others who come to our lake also respect our lake’s gasoline-motor-free environment. Not only does this ensure a smaller carbon footprint for our water activities, it keeps our small lake quieter, calmer and better for wildlife.
Transportation and Home Heating are two of the largest GHG contributors for the average consumer. My shift to working out of my home office on a much more frequent basis has allowed me to service my clients remotely and without the need for using my vehicle as much, and I have been able to greatly reduce my annual vehicle usage.
In the past few years we shifted off Heating Oil to Propane, which produces 38% fewer GHGs than fuel oil in furnaces, according to some sources. When the need arises to replace our home heating system again, or if the economics greatly improve before that, we will definitely consider moving to a high efficiency electric heat pump.
Finally, our 95-acre property is left in a very natural state, with many acres of trees throughout and natural vegetation along the waterfront, which helps sequester a high volume of carbon and provides for a more sustainable future.
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
For more affordable housing, it makes sense to encourage building accessory apartments within existing houses: this is one of the most cost-effective ways to produce additional rental housing, and the GHG footprint for both building and operating accessory apartments is much lower than building standalone units. As well, increasing density in the urban core with multiple dwelling buildings results in similar benefits, lower per-unit costs along with a lower GHG footprint, and a reduction of urban sprawl.
As an avid cyclist, I will also continue to champion for implementation of the Town’s Active Transportation Plan, which has identified many opportunities for getting people out of vehicles and walking and cycling throughout the Town.
Furthermore, I will watch for developments in the return of Ontario Northland rail to Gravenhurst, and encourage the Town to work with the Province to hasten the return of rail.
3. A long-term problem requires a long-term solution. What is your 100-year plan? If elected, what would be your first action?
While a 100 year plan would take a considerable amount of time and resources to develop, I would see a future with a population much more focussed on their individual impacts on the Environment.
My first action will be to focus on the CLIMATE CHANGE IMPLICATIONS section that is now on all Town of Gravenhurst Staff Reports, and to point out where these implications have not been addressed but should have been. I will examine all staff recommendations with an eye to how a better Climate-focussed decision may be available.