Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Perhaps your blogger was too harsh in criticizing the staff report on carbon dioxide reductions in a previous posting. And after all Burlington Council, not staff, call the shots.

So off to the Council debate at March 27th's committee to be enlightened on the corporation's action plan to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

First, the Sustainable Development Committee delivers a passionate, well researched presentation pleading for a 25% reduction in carbon emissions over 1994 levels by 2012. After all more than 400 other North American communities are already doing this.

Councillor Rick Goldring (Ward 5) won't go quite that far but argues strongly for a 20% reduction by 2010. Polls show climate change is the public's top concern ahead of health care and education, Goldring notes.

"We can analyze to death but we must take action," says Goldring.

Similarly Councillor Rick Craven (Ward 1) calls for "real action" and the need to "translate our intentions" if we expect citizens and the broader community to act on climate change as well.

Veteran Councillor John Taylor (Ward 3) believes support for Goldring's views would be the equivalent of signing a blank cheque - something he has never done in eighteen years on Council. Taylor wants the issue to go to Strategic Planning but tips his hand on his position in a rant about empty buses and how we have been "throwing money" at public transit for years. News of such spending will surprise riders of squeaky braked 24 year old buses.

Councillor Jack Dennsion (Ward 4) agrees with Taylor. It is a strategic planning issue.

Mayor Cam Jackson acts "mayoral" and says both Goldring and Taylor are right. Your blogger double checks his notes. How can this be?

Jackson thinks there is a bigger picture and wants to get all council onside through the Strategic Planning process. Good luck to you, Mayor Jackson. Achieiving a Buzz Hargrove/Jack Layton reconciliation would be an easier task.

Councillor Peter Thoem (Ward 2) is glad that we are finally talking about this critical issue which he is happy to deal with at strategic planning.

Committee Chair Carol D'Amelio, in earlier questions, seems to indicate that our expectations shouldn't be too high. We are a growing community and so emissions can be expected to go up.

Here's hoping that Council will get its act together on to this critical issue.

Strategic Planning (Future Focus) starts April 2nd. The process could use some input. Give your Councillor a call. Ask them to live up to the previous 2002 committment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tell them this matters.

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