Elaine MacDonald – 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?
  • Yes, I would make climate change a priority and to that end, I would make a motion that in our tendering process, we introduce a triple bottom line rating, for awareness, which is a good first step. Our procurement policies are pretty rigidly based on lowest cost that meets the need. It would be hard to move that needle directly, but by allowing for a comment re the effect on overall sustainability as a desirable goal of any expenditure, we could gradually move the needle away from lowest cost – unless of course, the lowest cost was also the most environmentally, socially and financially beneficial. I will move this early on, if elected.
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?
  • Our downtown streets, both in Le Village and along Pitt and Second, demonstrate a range of successes and as-yet-unremediated problems. Our brownfield and tax-increment community improvement policies have had very positive effects, where they’ve been taken up. Where they’ve stalled, I think it’s time we tried the opposite tactic: namely, that instead of lowering taxes on vacant properties, especially commercial ones, we do the reverse, and raise rather than lower the taxes billed on vacant brownfields. I actually wrote such a motion and we sent it out to other municipalities for endorsement prior to eventually submitting it to the provincial government which has the power to manipulate the tax response to a post-industrial vacancy, especially of small inner-city sites like abandoned gas stations and dry cleaners. The appeal to other municipalities is out there and with a new provincial government might need to be re-started but I believe it’s worth doing.
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 we have budgeted for replacement of trees being removed from public properties and spaces. However, to date, there are no plans to compensate private property owners for replacement of trees they remove from their properties. Short of actual compensation though, we can promote the benefits of replacing trees. The commemorative tree planting program and the Lamoureux Park tree walk, which features an amazing variety or tree species are good promotional programs. A public education campaign could be mounted from our City Central booth at the annual spring trade show, with a number of tree samplings given away with planting and care instructions.
If elected, what waste management initiatives would you support toward increasing waste diversion and what targets would you like to set for your municipality?
  • I would support moving to bag limits and introducing green waste pickup. I believe I would stage the process so we would introduce bag limits first and then after two years, move to bi-weekly bag pickup while continuing weekly blue box pickup. By the way, the Trash to Treasure initiative on the part of our environment department was a great idea. May we do it again, semi-annually even.

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