SC: Sustainability – what does this mean to you, with respect to Cobourg, and how would you ensure that these issues are addressed in your term as a Councillor?
TR: As we move forward into 2015 and the next 4 years with a new Council it is a priority for me to ensure that we keep a balanced approach and the basic organizing principles of sustainability at the heart of our decisions. This will ensure that we are planning with a focus on the future ensuring prosperity in the areas of our town’s ecology, economics, politics and culture.
SC: Climate change – is one of the greatest, global threats in our time. Current Canadian greenhouse gas emission levels must be reduced by 50% within the next 6 years (by 2020) to address climate change issues. If elected to Council what measures will you propose that Cobourg take to both reduce the town’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to help enable Cobourg residents to do the same? What GHG reduction target will you set for Cobourg for the end of your Council term?
TR: Decreasing GHG and our carbon footprint should be a priority for our local government and residents alike. I feel that there needs to be more education surrounding the importance of this issue for council, town staff and the community at large. Our parks and rec department would place to start when addressing our GHG emissions as well as partnering with organizations such as LUCI. A town wide Challenge to reduce our emissions that educates and engages our local government, residents and businesses could be one approach to reaching out.
SC: Town planning – amendments to the Cobourg Official Plan require the development of an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) for the town. This plan will address water and energy conservation, air quality protection, waste reduction, environmental monitoring and taking various other initiatives. If elected to Council what deadline will you propose for completing this plan? What resources will you propose for its completion? How will you involve the community in the development of this plan?
TR: Development of an ICSP is an important part of the future of Cobourg. In order to have a successful ICSP we must first have an adopted Official Plan that includes approved Zoning and Heritage Master Plan components. The Zoning portion of the plan must approved by the province and we are currently awaiting a decision before moving forward. I think it would be realistic to think that an ICSP could be adopted in the next 4 years. The cost has been estimated at $100,000. Utilizing the resources of organisations such as Sustainability Cobourg, the Active Transportation Committee, the GRCA as well as the community at large will be an important part of the plan creation.
SC: Transportation – has for many years been designed for automobile usage at the expense of other forms of transportation. This has caused many problems related to health and climate change. If elected to Council what would you do to promote and action changes to the transportation systems within Cobourg? As “active transportation” (cycling, walking, in-line skating, etc.) has emerged as one possible solution, how would you ensure that Cobourg continues to improve the Town for active transportation? Would you be prepared to sign a pledge to support active transportation within Cobourg?
TR: As someone who enjoys using my bike as a mode of transportation, especially with my children, I understand the need for more clearly defined active transportation lanes that connect our community. It is a health and safety issue not to be ignored. A commitment from Council to make active transportation a priority is the first step, a plan to move forward and then action. Open lines of communication with the public and Active Transportation Committee will be key.
I like the concept of certifying the bicycle friendly towns and would like to see Cobourg on that list.