GREN sent a survey to all regional, city, and township candidates running in Waterloo Region.

We asked the following questions:

  1. Cities/urban centres are responsible for 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions. What is in your plans to reduce that?

  2. What are your plans to support a 15-Minute City where everything we need can be accessed by foot or bike in that time and reduce vehicle use?

  3. The Doughnut Economy is a working model that addresses both social and environmental issues to create a livable future for everyone without exceeding Earth’s ability to provide. What are your priorities to meet these challenges?

  4. Optional question: Do you have campaign donations from speculators/developers and, if so, what percentage of your funding?

1.I appreciate and trust the work completed by ClimateActionWR so some of the below information has been copied from their TransformWR report.

  •  Develop strategic partnerships among different departments and levels of government, agencies and institutions to better understanding funding availabilities, support networks, and governmental rebates for citizens.

  •  Identify and implement policy and program opportunities to incentivize active transportation.  Plan and begin to implement a transition to zero emission vehicles for municipal fleets  Work towards policies that create new residential developments with 100% “EV Ready” requirements for parking.  Work with GreenWR and other rural municipalities to develop a Green Development Standards for new developments.  Reduce unnecessary building demolition and construction waste  Continue to develop and enforce robust land-use planning protections for prime agriculture land  Establish metrics to measure progress on increasing equity through GHG reduction initiatives in our community.

  •  Fund a climate justice committee led by community members from equity-seeking groups 2. I appreciate and trust the work completed by ClimateActionWR so some of the below information has been copied from their TransformWR report. I believe we should

  •  Plan for and build neighbourhood connections by first mapping out all of our Townships services, resources, and businesses and determining what is missing for each local area to create a 15 minute city.

  •  Plan a network of major active transportation corridors across cities and townships, that will provide high volume priority travel for walking, cycling, and rolling to key destinations across the region, as well as access to public transit.  Design and maintain active transportation infrastructure to ensure year-round access, safety, and comfort for people of all abilities

  •  Implement design standards for new developments to build for walking, cycling, and rolling  Plan how to increase compactness and promote mixed-use buildings and neighbourhoods. Compact development means higher-density development that makes greater use of the same land area. Mixed-use development refers to a variety of functions – such as residential, retail, office, institutional and/or light industrial. Unlike a single-purpose area hosting only ‘big-box’ retail stores, offices or apartment towers, a more compact, mixed-use neighbourhood provides a balanced diversity of human-scale activities.

This means the official plan needs to

  •  be updated for planning and zoning rules for new developments for infill and regeneration projects to increase compactness and diversity of use in the medium to longer-term

  •  zone for medium density development and smaller block sizes  promote the adaptive reuse of vacant or underused buildings which will allow buildings to be brought into more productive use while preserving their character and providing space for a more diverse mix of uses

  •  require critical public services, infrastructure and green space to be accessible to all residents at the neighbourhood level Current development regulations in North America have three major blindspots. The first is that regulations treat land as a commodity to be divided among different uses rather than a complex, integrated ecosystem. Regulatory maps usually show land without contours and devoid of specific soil and hydrological conditions. There is often a serious mismatch between what is permitted – or required– and the actual ability of the landscape to survive such change. Another blind spot is the almost universal prescription that both use and densities should be separated. For example, regulations generally separate shopping from areas zoned for different types of houses. This type of development makes it extremely difficult to create more compact 15-minute communities because no matter what people will have to drive to access essential services. Which makes it difficult to get from one to the other without a car.. A third blind spot is a system of zones based on arbitrary categories rather than functional segments of a city, such as neighbourhoods or business centers. Separating residential buildings by lot categories makes it difficult to create new versions of the walkable neighbourhoods with mixed housing types. We can see this in same-sized lot zoning and the narrow commercial corridors zoning establishes along major roads.

3. Currently, cities consume 75% of natural resources, produce over 50% of global waste, and emit between 60-80% of greenhouse gases.

  •  Working with the other councilors and staff to help each other better understand how our municipality can envision our townships future through the lens of the Doughnut Economy like the City of Nanaimo as well as Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Cambridge and Amserdam.

  •  Work with community partners and academic institutions like the University of Waterloo learn more and gain additional support for our township.

  •  Waterloo Region is going through the process of completing their 30 year Official Plan. Next year Wilmot Township will need to complete their Official Plan and incorporating the Dounut Economy into the framework would be important.  Connect with community groups to ensure there is community wide support for this model of thinking.

  •  Mapping out our townships natural assets would be a good way to better understand what we have, their benefit to our community and economy and to understand how to protect them.

Community engagement is key in any climate change plan. But the definition of community engagement has different meanings for not only municipalities but between individual staff and council. “Community engagement is the process of involving the people that live and interact with your city in its development, including anyone with an interest or influence in, or who is impacted by, a local plan, policy or action.

Engagement strategies help cities to develop a better working relationship with the community to ensure that the needs and issues of all parties are understood, and can be addressed to achieve positive change.” 4. I have no funding from any speculators/developers

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Questions from SPECTRUM. Visit their website to see how other candidates responded (Their website still needs to be updated with my response).