—- Municipal Candidate Survey —- STUART McKINNON

Bracebridge — Councillor — Macaulay Ward / Ward 3  

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

My family and I consider the impact of every action, purchase, or project we undertake. We purposely live in a smaller home, with a focus on efficiency, which also brings the benefit of cost savings. We try our best to ensure nothing goes to waste, and always consider donations, recycling, or repurposing prior to discarding something. Few things break my heart more than seeing plastic end up in a landfill, when it could have been repurposed, recycled, or perhaps not even required in the first place. Achievable changes by many is how I feel we can all work together to combat our impact on the environment.

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: It is my belief that building officials should go beyond inspecting for building code and safety, and incorporate efficiency into building requirements. There are many great products that can be used in building that would last longer, save energy, and reduce the impact on the climate, but it will take some encouragement at the municipal level to see builders using them more consistently.  

Housing: As stated above, focus needs to shift to building efficient and environmentally friendlier buildings that are also affordable. Take advantage of vacant land that is in, or close to the downtown core, to provide more affordable housing that doesn’t require additional transit. There are several vacant properties on the Bracebridge “flats” shopping area that would lend themselves well to affordable condo/apartment style housing, walking distance to services or transit, with the benefit of reducing sprawl.

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

It comes down to efficiency. There is a finite amount of resources on our planet, and a finite amount of money that municipalities have to spend. Each and every action should have a climate impact assessment. For example, the financial and climate impact of fixing one pothole will certainly outweigh the costs/impacts of paving a section of road. However, if we are filling the same pothole two or three times per year, and several more around it, we need to evaluate if it makes more financial and climate sense to repave that section of road.

Decisions at the municipal level need to be thought of this way. Saving tax dollars doesn’t have to mean negative climate impacts, just as greener solutions don’t have to come at higher costs. A vibrant, safe, and beautiful community needs to be a responsible one. Responsible to the ratepayers that live here, and responsible to the environment for current residents/visitors, and those for generations to come.

How is this achieved, and how does it fit my 100 year plan? Small, achievable, and meaningful changes to the way we do things will result in a much more efficient and climate friendly way of doing business, without significant negative impacts on those we serve. While the changes may be small, they will need to be many, and will need to be consistent to reach our goals, and this happens when we ensure the climate is part of every decision made.

My first action, if elected, would be to ensure every decision made is done so with consideration to the environment.