Helen Dunlop – South Stormont

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?
  • I consider climate action, including energy reduction, a priority; it should be part of the Council’s vision and goals. Climate action is an important aspect of working towards a sustainable, resilient and healthy Township. All forms of energy reduction methods are important whether they are simple or state-of-the-art. Energy reduction should be part of assessing municipal activities. Some municipalities are developing plans/strategies related to climate change and climate actions. They look at mitigation efforts focussing on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and energy reduction. They also look at adaptation efforts focussing on preparing for the anticipated impacts of climate change such as warmer temperatures and more intense precipitation patterns. Climate change affects everyone and is important to the management of the Township – it affects the health of the population, environment, and economy, e.g., climate change continues to create challenges for agricultural industries. South Stormont should consider developing such a plan. The Township should look at energy efficiency improvements in public services and in municipal assets, including buildings, vehicle fleets, water/wastewater treatment facilities, and streetlights. Township staff and Council would have to research and assess state-of-the art-energy reduction methods and determine what would be reasonable and appropriate for the Township. There should also be an Environment Council Advisory Committee to provide advice and recommendations to help support decision making with respect to environmental matters, including climate actions and energy reduction methods. Council could consider a phased approach in initiating energy reduction methods, allocating funding annually. There may be federal and provincial funds available, e.g., the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund and funds related to sustainable development.
Do you think your main street/downtown is successful – why or why not?  If elected, what specific actions, changes and improvements would you make to ensure a healthy and successful downtown/main street?
  • In 2013, South Stormont developed a Community Improvement Plan (CIP) that offers financial incentive programs designed to improve existing retail and commercial areas and enhance the aesthetics and character of retail strips within the communities of South Stormont. Since the plan was developed there have been improvements made to the commercial areas. I would like to see more businesses apply for CIP funding. There is more that could be done to make the commercial areas vibrant and successful – and more inviting to tourism, even as simple as outdoor interpretive signage or panels promoting our history and heritage.
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?
  • It is necessary to focus on restoring and maintaining trees and forests. They are critical components & indicators of healthy ecosystems and healthy communities. Trees are important assets for landowners and the municipality. They are part of the municipality’s infrastructure. Money should be allocated annually for maintenance and tree replanting on municipal lands. The cost can by high; there may be funding sources and opportunities for partnerships. I understand the Township has collected information on developing an EAB Management Plan. It met with neighbouring municipalities and local Conservation Authorities to gather information on moving a plan forward that would include inventory, removal as required, and subsequent tree planting. The Township should develop a strategic forest management plan (urban and rural forests), which could include an EAB strategy. The strategy should include wood waste disposal, and public education and communication. Residents’ participation is essential to the success of control and replanting initiatives. A tree cutting by-law should be developed, requiring a permit to cut a tree and including the requirement for proper disposal of an infected ash and replanting. There should also be an Environment Council Advisory Committee to help support decision making on environmental matters including EAB and tree replanting initiatives. We should work with the Conservation Authorities, environmental non-government organizations, nature trusts, forest groups, school boards, farmers, home owners, property developers, and businesses/corporations on control and tree replanting initiatives. If elected, I will be 1 of 5 on Council. I cannot ensure the replacement of tree cover lost because of EAB. However, tree canopy is an important issue for me; I can assure you that I would work hard for tree replacement.
If elected, what waste management initiatives would you support toward increasing waste diversion and what targets would you like to set for your municipality?
  • The Township’s 2012 Solid Waste Management Plan and related policies need to be reviewed. As part of this process, the landfill site and the Township’s waste diversion rate needs to be assessed. In 2011, we generated over 3000 tons of waste and had a diversion rate of 23%. We need to know our current waste generation and diversion rate. We should be working towards at least 50% to 60%. Canada issued a Food Loss and Waste Strategy (2018). Ontario issued a Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement (2018) pursuant to the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act (2016). The Federal and Provincial governments are working towards a zero waste goal. The Provincial Statement sets out targets for waste reduction and resource recovery of food and organic waste. Municipalities are required to develop and implement promotion and education programs aimed at preventing food waste. South Stormont and neighbouring municipalities could consider a regional approach to waste management, including food and organic waste, and pet waste. Perhaps there could a green bin program. There may support available for municipalities in waste diversion initiatives, including a public composting facility through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund. There may also be support through the Compost Council of Canada. There needs to be more education on waste reduction, including reducing food loss, home and community composting, reducing single use plastics, and upcycling.

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