Bracebridge — District Councillor
1. What actions have you personally taken to support a greener, more sustainable climate?
From a personal perspective, my family has always made a conscientious effort to act in an environmentally responsible manner, from the way we consume goods, to the messages we teach our 4 year old daughter. Most of these efforts involve practical measures that are part of every day life, like:
- Recycling and composting
- Bringing our own bags to the store
- Reducing the use of single use plastics almost to nothing
- Fuel efficient vehicles (no big SUVs or gas-guzzling over-sized trucks)- our next will be a hybrid.
- Walking or cycling if we don’t have to drive
- Donating used items like clothing and toys
- Using LED lights
- Using energy efficient appliances
- Keeping more lights off
- Buying local as much as possible
- Eating less meat, specifically beef
- Teaching our daughter to be conscientious about all of the above
Just to name a few!
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
In the past I have been part of efforts to reduce GHGs created by buildings, many of which can take advantage of programs that incentivize changing to more environmentally friendly alternatives as simple as changing all bulbs to LEDs or installing aerators on all faucets. Many buildings that were built when the cost of oil was much less were never properly insulated, meaning that huge amounts of waste is created simply heating and cooling them. Climate leadership at the municipal level would mean taking a serious look at retrofitting the town and district buildings to a standard that is environmentally acceptable by modern standards.
Housing development applications should be required to include details regarding the energy efficiency of their homes and the environmental responsibility used in their building practices. Most modern developments are superior to older builds in terms of newer, more efficient appliances, but a wholesome review from an environmental sustainability perspective should be standard practice.
Land use (sprawl)
Sprawl has hugely detrimental impacts on the environment and usually doesn’t solve the housing needs of local populations. Impacts to water quality, increased driving times, and reducing agricultural lands over time negatively impact entire communities. A mixture of housing types would contribute to a more sustainable situation, where more efficient, denser buildings (like apartments) that can house many more people are able to offset the urge to sprawl out further from the amenity rich “urban” areas. I would work to avoid sprawl in Bracebride, and all of Muskoka.
Public transportation, if convenient, will get more people out of their cars – simply put. In rural areas it is a huge challenge to find economically viable transportation options that actually work for the population given that they are not densely populated or populous. We need to find a balance between providing people who would or need to use public transportation a service that is reliable and convenient (and not wasteful, ie. empty bus driving round and round), and financially sensible.
3. A long-term problem requires a long-term solution. What is your 100-year plan? If elected, what would be your first action?
A 100 year plan is somewhat difficult to envision just because we don’t know what new technologies or energy sources will exist in the much nearer future. That being said, I believe that our efforts to a sustainable future from a municipal perspective must involve constant and ongoing reviews of environmental policies as these changes occur – to include new and evolving ideas and technologies into the basic functionalities of our town and district. For example, the increasing adoption of electric vehicles is something most people may not have imagined ten or fifteen years ago, but is currently something we should be looking hard at embracing.
My first step, if elected, would be to meet with groups like Climate Action Muskoka and similarly minded organizations to talk about your knowledge and ideas and vision for the future of a sustainable Muskoka. I hope to work closely with you and am similarly passionate about the environment for us, our children and all future generations!
Thank you for allowing me to participate in your survey and I look forward to working with you, if elected!