4RG Peterborough recently sent an on-line questionnaire to all of the Peterborough City Council candidates. Unfortunately, only 13 of the 29 candidates replied to the survey. Of those who did respond, most said that they are aware that some effects of climate change are being observed locally in the form of flooding, milder winters on average and an earlier spring blooming of many plant species.
With the exception of Alan Wilson and Gary Baldwin, the candidates also agree that climate change is an urgent issue with respect to the environment, the economy, and human health. They recognize that Peterborough City and County have a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting our infrastructure and health from the effects of climate change locally.
Nearly all agree to “strongly support implementation of the measures contained in the Greater Peterborough Sustainability Plan.”
Who replied to the questionnaire? Gary Baldwin (Ashburnham), Jocasta Boone (Monaghan), Kathryn Eyre (Northcrest), Donald Fraser (Ashburnham), Maryam Monsef (Mayoral candidate) Lesley Parnell (Otonabee), Jason Stabler (Town), Bill Templeman (Northcrest), Paul Teleki (Ashburnham), Diane Therrien (Town), Alan Wilson (Mayoral candidate), Tom Young (Mayoral candidate), Kim Zippel (Otonabee) Although Daryl Bennett did not respond to this particular survey, we have included his response to an earlier questionnaire from 4RG that asked similar questions.
The candidates’ individual knowledge of the issue came through most strongly in the additional comments that many of them made. Here are some of the highlights from those who provided comments.
Candidates for Mayor
Tom Young: “We all have a role to play. By using alternative forms of transportation, recycling, composting, and reducing our demand for energy, we can all help. Governments should do more to assist low income people with making these changes.”
Daryl Bennett: I was an early proponent of the City’s Sustainability Plan and its Climate Change Plan, and voted in favour of both. I said in Council that climate change was the most important issue of our time. The premise I bring to the issue of climate change is that we are well past any undermining of the reality of human-induced climate change; our need now is to focus on action and remedy. Implementation relies on a multi-sector approach which should be focused on a cultural change that uses climate change as a lens through which we see, monitor and judge our individual and collective actions:
- The City should continue to review and assess all development proposals in relation to climate change, and our staff reporting should make this criteria plain.
- The City must continue to lead. Our solar roof policy for City buildings is a good example.
- Our schools must educate a new generation. The City can play a similar role in terms of overall public awareness.
- We need at all levels a single day/event/occasion on which to focus the interest of the entire community.
- We need to advance the idea that every individual can make a difference on a daily basis.
Maryam Monsef: The Sustainability Plan that was developed through Sustainable Peterborough is a document to be proud of. It is a framework from which to look at the future developments of our community, holding the pillars of environment, economy and socio-cultural in equal balance. For more of my ideas related to sustainability, please see my Policy Platform, which will soon be available at: www.maryammonsef.ca.
The people of Peterborough care about its future, and already know a great deal about what is happening in other cities—what works, what is at the cutting edge, how to do things even better. We need to capture and apply these ideas, engage our City’s staff to bring them to life, and find solutions that are designed for us—made in Peterborough solutions. We must prepare for future challenges: local impacts of climate change (e.g. flooding, ecosystem vulnerability); social diversity and social justice; an economy in transition; demographic change; fiscal constraints; and infrastructure obsolescence/life cycle management. One challenge is to reduce environmental impacts, using strategies outlined in the Sustainability Plan, such as doing a greenhouse gas inventory in order to find ways to reduce emissions. We must also find proactive ways to optimize individual and community health, encompassing physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being. If elected, I will ensure that existing resources like the Sustainability Plan inform any development of new systems, and will frame decision making at City Hall.
Alan Wilson: I will study the plan but can assure you that environmental sustainability has been a focus of mine since I had the privilege of working for Jon Grant OC at Quaker Oats. He and his successor championed environmental awareness and sustainability throughout this very successful manufacturing operation. I had the privilege of being their Manager of Corporate Engineering and Environmental Affairs. Also whilst Director of Engineering for Quaker Europe my Manager of Environmental Affairs, a PhD lead that important file there. His job under my direction was to educate, empower and audit environmental conscious and compliance at our 14 plants throughout Europe from Scotland to Spain.
I know the environmental importance and frankly the economic benefit of environmental sustainability on our planet and the health our people and the creatures we share our lands and waters with.
Candidates for Council
Jason Stabler: “If elected, I would consult with climate change experts in terms of understanding what the local impacts of climate change are and work to put into place appropriate prevention and mitigation strategies, including measures in the Sustainable Peterborough Plan.”
Lesley Parnell: “I have consistently voted for polices like the urban forestry policy, the emerald ash borer initiative, and Sustainable Peterborough. I have promoted these ideas to the County, neighbouring Mayors and Wardens in Eastern Ontario and Provincial representatives.”
Donald Fraser: “As an employee of GreenUP for a decade and a person who has sat on (and, in many cases, chaired) numerous environmental Boards of Directors and working groups, the bulk of my career has been dedicated to both public education and effective programming in areas of climate change, air quality, habitat preservation, and water quality…I have worked with businesses across Peterborough and government staff and officials at all three levels of government on effective community-based environmental programs…”
Kim Zippel: “To enact the Greater Peterborough Area Community Sustainability Plan, we must acknowledge that many of the answers lie within the expertise of our own community. My approach would be to access the exceptional skills, and research, produced in our post-secondary institutions and community organizations, in addition to tapping in to the lived experience of our citizens…Working together with our neighbours on large issues such as climate change adaptation will consolidate our shared values and resources into a unified approach to regional sustainability that benefits us all.”
Kathryn Eyre: “Care for our precious environment. Use less, recycle, and take care of our world so there will be a world for your children.”
Diane Therrien: “We need to act now to move our municipality in a healthier, more sustainable direction. We must invest in public transit, active transportation, and urban intensification. We must also protect our green space and farmland, and promote our local food movement. These issues are extremely important to me and if elected I will bring my commitment to environmental sustainability to all decisions made at the council table.”
Bill Templeman: “Peterborough does not exist in a bubble. These climate issues are undeniable and they are here.”
Gary Baldwin: “Thank you for putting together the survey and asking for input. Will the results of the survey be released or published?”
Paul Teleki: “We need to support manufacturers of biodegradable garbage bags, support a 100% biodegradable garbage bag policy in the city. It would be the first of its kind and is needed now more than ever.”