Nina Bifolchi

NEWS – Environmental Matters

Posted August 1, 2022

Growing up I can remember my dad pushing acorns and walnuts into the ground on a walk or random pots with seedlings in them that he would later plant in the ground with no other purpose than to watch them grow. Most of my life I have grown up on land with lots of trees and as a child would wonder why he did this. This picture sheds light on it.  

My grandparents and great grandparents were in the landscaping business as well as tree farming. (That is my grandmother “Ma Litz” hanging off the truck) 

Dec 65

I also grew up in a family that hunted and fished. I know some people frown upon this but I can tell you those who hunt and fish understand the need for a healthy environment more than anyone. They understand the need for fresh water and a healthy ecosystem. Other lessons/skills are learned such as respecting wildlife and the ability to feed yourself and family.

Yes, my family has also cut trees when we have built our own homes, but we do our part to replace them. 

The town has a number of by-laws in place to ensure a healthy environment. Here are links to a few:

A tree canopy by-law.

A tree cutting by-law.

A lawn watering by-law.—Repeal-2002-25.pdf

A tree injuring by-law.

A watercourse protection by-law.—2015-77.pdf

The town also has a “climate action” page on the website. Town staff have also been sharing reports on council’s public agendas to inform the public of what the town is doing. Unfortunately there are some people in the community saying we are two years behind but that’s not a totally fair or accurate statement.

I believe that there are a lot of well intentioned people whose passion it is to “save the environment” but they don’t always know how or what that means. 

In May of 2021 council had a motion put before us to declare a climate crisis … everyone else was doing it. Usually when these types of motions come forward (everyone else is doing it!) they are broad statements and those voting feel shamed if they don’t support it and accused of not wanting to save the environment or whatever other cause may be before us. This is not the case.

It did pass by a vote of 4-3, but I did vote against it. I don’t believe in supporting any issue just because its politically incorrect not to. I don’t believe in jumping on something without fully understanding what we are agreeing to.

As you can see above the town has by-laws and policies in place and staff are bringing forward information reports for council and the community to understand initiatives already being undertaken. 

Are there more things we can do? Absolutely!! 

In discussions with staff they are looking to propose that a new Horticulturalist position be considered (subject to budget approval) which could look after initiatives and programs such as becoming a “bee city.” We all know how important the bees are!  The town also has the Healthy Community Network Committee that could assist with these types of applications and initiatives.

I believe in making decisions based on sound information, facts, data and science. On one hand we have Greta Thunberg shouting her opinions at us. Then we have 500 prominent scientists and professionals sending letters to the UN stating there is “no climate emergency.”

To put hundreds or millions of taxpayers dollars (or even more globally) into initiatives that may, or may not make a difference, needs to be thought through. 

Climate policies based on sound science and realistic economics need to be considered. 

Based on this, I put forward a motion to council requesting that staff bring forward the concept of establishing a Climate Change Advisory Committee to the next council for consideration. 

A terms of reference can be created and an advisory committee with knowledgeable people advising council and staff of potential beneficial initiatives can be formed. From there a responsible budget can be created and great things happen!