Gravenhurst – Mayor
1. What actions have you personally taken to support a greener, more sustainable climate?
In my personal life I have taken advantage of some modern technologies including the use of tools and equipment once powered by gas now by efficient battery power. Also, through better communication tools, I am able to greatly reduce driving to achieve and have become much more resourceful.
As well I supported the request for Gravenhurst be considered as an early pilot in the IVY electric vehicle charger program. As a result, the town chargers located at Sobeys. We need to keep an eye out for more opportunities like this.
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
Housing & Building
Planning could allow for more sustainable, environmentally harmonious building practices. This is about resourcefulness and education, being somehow included, represented, and understood in the building department for consideration and implementation.
Land use (sprawl)
Regarding urban sprawl, where at all possible development should be encouraged where we can maximize the water and sewage plants. Densification is the term that describes the increasing density of people living in urban areas. This is being encouraged by the province and may be a way to improve the situation. But we must be mindful of things like natural water runoff. And strive for creative storm water management so that more contaminants do not end up in our lakes.
Over the years I have pushed for and had success at the district level in active transportation.
AT integrates physical activity into normal daily life within the community, such as commuting to and from work, school, or shopping. As well as many health benefits, there are countless paybacks of AT from an environmental standpoint. One of the most obvious benefits is a reduced reliance on cars thereby reducing vehicle emissions which lead to air pollution and contribute to climate change.
In the last few years, myself and fellow councillors have been pushing for the return of passenger train service to Gravenhurst. This just make so much sense especially with the cost of fuel theses days.
It was not that many years ago that we participated in the Bike train program, a sustainable transportation and cycle tourism initiative introducing bike racks onboard select passenger rail trains to destinations. This could happen again. Its my belief that polar express will be returning with a stop in Gravenhurst within a few years. I will continue to follow up on this.
An upcoming transportation study may give us a number of ideas. We may be considering alternate sources for transportation, be it community driven, an Uber-like program, e-bike initiatives or shuttle services across town. We must ask, what can be initiated at the municipal level.
3. A long-term problem requires a long-term solution. What is your 100-year plan? If elected, what would be your first action?
Being asked for a 100-year plan is interesting. If this question were asked one hundred years ago, I’m sure the folks would never have imagined a planet and a society we have today. Nevertheless, Climate is now changing more rapidly than anticipated and we must learn to adapt and mitigate to a fluctuating environment. Coordinate efforts with other municipalities, provincial and federal governments. Additional funding sources need to be investigated to further advance climate action in Muskoka. There also needs to be an ongoing local climate vulnerability and risk assessment. We also require coordination with business and community support for Emergency Management Planning including mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.
I believe flooding will continue to be an issue and expansion of the flood plain mapping in Muskoka needs to take place, with a view to limit certain development or at least ensure flood protection measures in construction.
It seems that little attention is being paid to what role climate change has on food security, and human health. This is an area that needs to be taken under consideration as well, with the continued population growth. Planning may have to have a harder look how development reduces the amount of land available for things like agriculture.
My first action if elected regarding this matter would be to review Muskoka’s Climate Change Strategy
With my colleagues in order to understand what will be required in the coming years.