Carilyne Hébert – City of Cornwall

If elected, would you make climate action a priority, and if so, how would you ensure that state-of-the art-energy reduction methods are included in the assessment of all municipal activities, spending and investments – both capital and on-going management?
  • Climate change is a reality. We can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. There is no in between. I believe the City of Cornwall should create a Climate Change Strategy. This would include a review of all City operations and infrastructure and how we can continue to provide our services with the environment in mind. There are many things we can do to lessen our impact. One of them would be to review our purchasing policy. Often times we will purchase goods and serves outside of our region due to cost. Of course cost should always be a factor in the tender process however the environmental impact of a purchase should hold just as much weight. Every tender should have a Climate Change Impact calculation. This would also encourage local purchasing. We could also work with our Building department and local developers by providing incentives to build green homes or retrofit existing homes.
Do you think your main streets/downtown are successful – why or why not?  If elected, what specific actions, changes and improvements would you make to ensure they are healthy and successful?
  • The City of Cornwall has 2 beautiful downtowns. There has been much improvement over the last few years on Pitt Street and the surrounding street. Le Village has seen some improvements however I believe there are many more opportunities to grow with our Brownfield program. The development of our multidisciplinary Art Center will make our downtown boom. I’ve been asked, what will we do about parking? I think if residents and visitors have to park a block further because the main Pitt Street parking is full that is an excellent problem to have. Of course we want to ensure we have a sufficient amount of accessible parking but filling our parking lots means our downtown is alive. And there are many more available spots just a few steps further. We really see the downtown come alive during street festivals or when we have live art and music. We should continue to encourage this activity. All of our downtown business benefit during these events. I also believe that the addition of edible landscape in our downtowns could bring many benefits including visual appeal, education and access to healthy food. I would also do whatever I can to add recycling bins downtown and in all public spaces. Currently we have temporary recycling bins that we use for events however there are not permanent bins. If we want to encourage our residents to recycle more, we should be leading by example.
If elected, how would you go about ensuring the replacement of tree cover lost in your municipality as a result of the Emerald Ash Borer?
  • I believe tree cover loss is something we should look at beyond Emerald Ash Borer. The City does have a strategy for Emerald Ash Borer however that only covers trees on public property. Many of these trees are on private property and residents are unfortunately sometimes unaware of the Emerald Ash bug or that they have Ash trees. Through potential grant opportunities we should be working with residents and helping them replace their Ash trees. This begins with education of course. Beyond Emerald Ash Borer the city is currently exploring a Tree Cutting Bylaw. This would take into account not only tree cutting but also damaging or harming a tree. I would support such a bylaw to ensure we keep our beautiful tree cover.
If elected, what waste management initiatives would you support toward increasing waste diversion and what targets would you like to set for your municipality?
  • Waste reduction is something I am very passionate about. Our municipality can help our residents significantly reduce their environmental food print. The City of Cornwall’s current Waste Diversion Rate is 30%. We can do much better. Many other Ontario municipalities are reaching rates above 60%. That of course if due to the programs in place in their municipalities. There are many things we can do to bring that diversion rate up. I believe the first step is limiting the amount of garbage bags a family can put to the curb every week. This would encourage local families to recycle and learn about the many ways we can all reduce the amount of house hold waste we create. I believe the City has a role in play with a comprehensive educational campaign. I’ve seen this initiative criticized as a way to reduce a municipal service and that the annual tax level should reflect that reduction in service. First of all I believe this is beyond dollars, cents and taxes and more about the environmental impact we are all making. Secondly, by reducing our waste we are extending the life of our landfill. It would cost the City of Cornwall approximately 60 to 100 million dollars to close our existing landfill and open a new one. I would call reducing our waste a way to save on our tax bill. I also believe that composting is a big part of reaching a higher diversion rate. The average Canadian is throwing out about 400lbs of food every year. As a county that is about 6 millions tonnes. A way I like to explain this to try and understand the volume of food and organic waste in Canada is to imagine 1 million full grown elephants. Something I can’t even picture. Imagine the waste we could divert from the landfill if we had a weekly composting program. All that being said, I would be happy to see our diversion rate increase to 50% by the end of the next term.
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