Office for Environmental Sustainability
An effective model for a more direct democracy.
An effective model for a more direct democracy.
Direct end-use sector reduction for GHG.
Addressing imminent environmental and societal concerns.
Leadership in local water management practices.
Local initiatives to encourage smarter growth principles.
Encouraging a more direct democracry in our legislative process.
We have a responsibility as a leader in the community and federal lawmaker, to educate on, incentivize and improve legislative standards for sustainable growth. My office for environmental sustainability will encourage the development of infrastructure that supports walking, biking or taking public transit to work. Proactively encouraging healthy, environmentally sustainable choices, while working tirelessly on an equitable transition from carbon-based communities, to carbon-neutral communities.
The most effective way for our individual parliamentarians to help advance the protection of Canada’s biodiversity is by creating an office for environmental sustainability in their constituencies. Other than industrial polluters, the two end-user sectors that are responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions are transportation and housing. Our greatest challenge is working with the provincial and municipal bodies in our constituencies to identify, implement and if necessary, legislate efficiencies and protections for the environment.
Our chief environmental officer must be tasked with working closely with the administrative departments at the provincial and municipal levels of government, to apply cost-benefit-analysis on the projected expenditures for planned roads, local developments and high-consumption fossil-fuel reliant communities. We need to look at each instance with the understanding that we should allow the free-market to grow and regulate itself, but that as a baseline for our community standards, we must stress strategic connectivity to central hubs, alternative modes of transportation, and safeguarding the biodiversity in our communities.
With respect to Kelowna-Lake Country in its current stage of growth, you can already see tens of millions in roadways, expansions and new developments that are high-consumption, fossil-fuel reliant neighbourhoods. We must not turn a blind-eye to the tens of millions of dollars, in high-consumption fossil-fuel reliant development in our own community.
Llet me be explicitly clear: we don't need to tear up roads to build bike-lanes, this isn't a parallel of the Burrard Street Bridge controversy (of what is now a very successful bike-lane project), but instead a progressive look at how we work with developers, and how our government bodies make large expenditures on new roadways and expansions. Our community plans tend to not only facilitate, but encourage a high-consumption fossil-fuel reliance. Let's start to look at our growth in a more progressive, environmentally-conscious way.
My office of environmental sustainability will mandate as one of two of its core goals, to help support the reduction of cars per household from the current level of 2.2 down to 1.0. This is a complex and multi-faceted issue, forces collaboration on all three-levels of government, and pulls in both private and public partners, to help identify and execute on a local strategy to achieve our goal.
Leveraging our public transit system effectively will be the most effective way for my office of environmental sustainability to pursue our CPH reduction goal. Our public transit system is overtaxed in Kelowna-Lake Country. We cannot expect people to voluntarily leave their cars at home, or to rely on public-transit, if there’s a realistic chance their bus will drive by the stop because it’s at capacity. This is a reality we face, our lack of action on simple, local issues like public transit, only helps fuel the fact that we have 2.2 cars per household in Kelowna-Lake Country.
Rather than penalizing traditional forms of transportation any more, such as we already do through the mechanism of a carbon-tax, we should be educating on, incentivizing and improving our public transportation and alternative methods of transportation like cycling or carpooling.
It’s may not be glamourous, or headline worthy, but public transit plays a critical role in confronting environmental challenges, by improving air quality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, facilitating compact development, conserving land and decreasing travel demand, and saving energy consumption. Transportation remains one of two, of the end-use sectors that are responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions. This CPH reduction is not only the most effective method for addressing this end-use sector, but absolutely necessary to safeguarding the future growth of our community.
The second of my office of environmental sustainability’s core goals, will be to implement a comprehensive legal framework, encompassing the many different forms of shared housing inventory. There’s controversy about our rental landscape, the reality is, the rental climate has changed over the last 8 years since I’ve been here, and our methods of calculating it aren’t keeping up. We need to encourage, incentivize and improve on cohousing, shared living, and the bylaws surrounding legal suites and micro-suites.
Maximizing the use of existing inventory is the most effective way to curb the exponential growth of our city limits. The expanse of our community without comprehensive environmental planning, will put Kelowna-Lake Country’s biodiversity at risk, encourage carbon-reliance for connectivity, and contribute to our overall greenhouse gas emissions. Housing remains one of two, of the end-use sectors that are responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions. Smarter growth in our communities will help mitigate excess harm to our environment.
My office will provide a significant amount of transparency on the federal money provided to our provincial and municipal partners, above and beyond programs like the 4 billion dollars set aside for B.C. infrastructure. We intend to work collaboratively and decisively with my partners in municipal and provincial office, in the best interests of the constituents of Kelowna-Lake Country. Our community is not only growing at a rapid pace, we're also the leading example for the Central Okanagan. Beyond simply advocating for federal green policies on a national level, simple provincial, municipal and even individual collaboration could make a significant impact on Kelowna’s biodiversity and reduction of emissions.
Kelowna-Lake Country has a unique water supply system involving multiple parties, one that demands federal oversight by our local parliamentarian. My office of environmental sustainability will ensure our water providers have access to a shared knowledge ecosystem, federal funding for unforeseen or large capital projects, as well as adequate support and collaboration on comprehensive water management practices.
The effects of climate change in the Okanagan, threatens the long-term growth and sustainability of our water supply for agricultural, residential and recreational demand. We have multiple water districts in our constituency, four providers throughout the City of Kelowna, and public and private providers throughout Lake Country. Because of the numerous different stakeholders, working openly with the involved parties will be the most effective method of addressing our needs in Kelowna-Lake Country. My office will help identify the challenges each provider faces with our projected growth and climate implications, then work towards collaboratively solving them.
Our office will continue to advocate for funding on known issues that may impact our lakes, such as protection from invasive mussels that have drastic ecological, industrial and economical impacts. Engaging both provincial and municipal partners, as well as our constituents to elevate the public profile on these issues will be our greater lever to appropriate funding from the federal government.
Our community plan demands federal oversight, right now. We know how critical our wilderness and biodiversity are to not only the environment, but the livability and beauty of our cities. It’s easy for developers to consistently expand and push infrastructure outward, when alternative options are either not available, or arbitrary government regulations force the free-market to do so. Integral in my plan to address homelessness in Kelowna-Lake Country, will also be critical to safeguarding our wilderness and biodiversity through free-market principles.
Kelowna-Lake Country has a significant amount of existing commercial and residential inventory that is in essence available, but for various arbitrary reasons, inaccessible to new businesses or our growing population. My office for economic development will work concurrently with my office for environmental sustainability, in identifying obstacles to accessing our existing inventory – bylaws, interconnectivity, biodiversity, modernization – then work diligently to remove those obstacles, through advocacy, litigation or appropriation of federal funds.
A comprehensive review of CEPA was initiated on 22 March 2016 by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development of the House of Commons (Committee). The Committee made a total of 87 recommendations, and each were evaluated by the Government.
My concern is that we have some of weakest regulations against chemical substances, and that yes, our parliamentarians should be advocating to strengthen the regulation of toxic substances for disease prevention and environmental health justice. This to me, is more than just about dispassionate legislation, this is about the mechanics of direct democracy our parliamentarians are using to influence their decision making. If we’re not involving our constituents, the majority of which are in favour of strong, equitable legislation, then we’re going against the spirit and will of the people of Canada.