Submitted by Brian Taylor
The Bruce Peninsula Environment Group sponsored an environmentally-focused All Candidates’ meeting at the Rotary Hall in Lion’s Head on the evening of September 27, 2022. Over 70 people attended in person and at its peak, 52 participated virtually, thanks to the livestream feed provided by techno expert Dominic Wong. Cathy Addison, municipal clerk, and assistant Lindsay Forbes were there to verify voters lists.
The meeting was very capably moderated by Megan Myles, who is completing her four year term as Councillor. She kept the meeting on time, with lively discussion, and seemed to enjoy her role in keeping the candidates busy with pertinent questions.
Rod Layman, Chair of BPEG, spoke about the work in putting together the NBP Climate Action Plan (CAP), and spoke about some of its highlights.
All 10 candidates for MNBP council attended. Jane Thomson, acclaimed English Public School Trustee, and Lucie Desbiens, candidate for English Catholic Trustee also attended and introduced themselves before the Council candidates took the floor.
Council candidates were then asked to give a two minute introductory talk about themselves and their overall reaction to the Climate Action Plan (CAP). All were in favour of the plan, and spoke of the need to carry this plan forward in the new Council.
Then, each candidate was given five minutes to respond to the following prepared questions related to the CAP:
1) What local climate impacts will affect the Peninsula the most?
2) Which actions from the CAP would you prioritize?
3) How can we reduce emissions from tourism and agriculture?
4) What do you know about the proposed land-based fish farm in Colpoy’s Bay and what do you make of its environmental impact?
5) Do you support the recommendations in the letter from the Climate Action Committee to Council? The letter proposed formation of a new committee to work with a new Council and the community to implement the CAP.
All candidates agreed with the CAP recommendations and with the need to support it in the term of the new council. Most felt that fire was the number one environmental threat on the peninsula. Very few had any data about the proposed fish farm at Colpoy’s, but one candidate pointed out that the effluent volume from the Wiarton sewage treatment plant was much higher than that planned for the fish farm! It seemed to this reporter that many of the candidates considered this to be a South Bruce Peninsula issue.
Overall, all candidates were engaged with and understood the basic principles of the CAP.
Then, moderator Myles took questions from the live audience and from the folks on the livestream feed. Concerns about the fish farm were raised again in this question period. There were questions on public transit and ride-share options, housing, tourism and the willingness of Council to collaborate with each other.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 pm, and further informal discussions took place between members of the audience and the candidates.
This was a most useful, educational session in both learning more about the CAP and in assessing the responses of the candidates. Many thanks to Rod Layman, Megan Myles, Dominic Wong, and Joanne Rodgers for all the organizing, and to the candidates for putting themselves “out there”!
In the first 24 hours after the meeting, another 292 people viewed the meeting recording, making a total of 343 persons accessing this event online!
To view a recording of the meeting go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7Ow8GvQ6CE