Roslyn Cassells

GreenVote new candidate running for Surrey City Council

Do you support raising {your municipality’s} community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets to meet or beat the new province-wide standard of 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 80% by 2050 (percentages refer to a reduction below 2007 levels)? [Note that some cities already match the 80% target but lack interim targets, which are crucial to meeting these goals!]

Yes

 

Will you submit a formal request to council to adopt these targets within one year of being elected?

Yes

 

Are you in favour of transparent, annual measuring and reporting of [your municipality’s] community-wide emissions?

Yes

 

Will you submit a formal request to council to ensure transparent, annual measuring and reporting of community-wide emissions, within one year of being elected?

Yes

 

Will you commit to taking a leadership role in ensuring that city council and staff work with community members, businesses, developers, and other stakeholders to achieve these community-wide targets in a meaningful way and within the specified time frame?

Yes

 

Describe three steps you will take during your first year in office to uphold this commitment.

Move to adopt an Urgent Climate Action Plan IMMEDIATELY. Move that all City Departments provide an energy & emissions accounting to council on a quarterly basis, adopt Best Practices throughout the City, and make Best Practices official policy. Move that all projects, services, and departments undergo regular Climate Action Reviews, with incentives for good climate citizens and disincentives for bad climate citizens. See my attached "Ecology & Governance" policy note for more details.

 

Force of Nature’s framework emphasizes “five key concepts” of urban climate solutions. What ideas or initiatives would you bring forth to promote, encourage or enforce the reduction of community-wide GHG emissions in each of the following categories: compact communities, multi-modal transportation, renewable energy, green jobs, and circular economy.

Zero emissions/zero waste projects, systems, & practices. Connected integrated communitities where all needs are met within the community. Ecological green architecture & materials embracing social & ecological connectivity, water & energy conservation, reuse & recycling of all materials, green energy systems integrated into homes, workplaces, and transportation systems, adoption of Best Practices as City Policy, continually upgrade, improve, and accelerate the move to halt climate change. Cities are the primary producers of emissions and therefore municipal governments must be the leaders in fighting climate change. The 38 Point Plan implemented in Denmark provides a starting point for governments serious about climate change. Some simple tactics such as labelling/evaluating products and services for impact on climate change - a rating system - would allow the public to make informed ethical choices ie meat would have a worst rating than vegetables, a bus ride better than a car ride but worst than a bike ride... No regulatory fees for sustainable vehicles, more charging stations etc. Zero waste means moving to complete separation of materials for pickup - through reduction of garbage pickup and increase in pickup of organics & recyclables. Integration of public transit with pedestrian/bicycling/other modes networks. Transit should be 24/7. Transit should be free. When I was a park commissioner I brought in the Free Bus in Stanley Park by proving the cost of instituting a fare system is about equal to the amount of fares collected. Therefore no economic argument for fare structure - and great ecological & social benefits. Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation has excellent information on housing options focussing on green principles - a great resource. The Aga Khan has an architectural project component that integrates societal values with ecological a architecture, there is no shortage of ideas & inspiration with which to build a better world for all! Here is my policy note on Ecology & Governance, pertinent to the achievement of climate justice: Govern according to global green principles of social and ecological justice. Direct and ongoing involvement with local communities and First Nations on all projects at the planning stage and beyond, before decisions are taken and commitments are made. Apply triple bottom line accounting to all city projects, programs, services, and departments so that three aspects 1) society, 2) the ecology, and 3) the economy - are all given equal consideration in planning decisions Maintain Best Practices in all city projects, programs, services, and departments. Regularly review programs and services to ensure improvements to Best Practices are implemented without delay. Maintain close ties with professional and academic bodies to this end. Encourage staff to continually upgrade their knowledge through continuing education. WILDLIFE NEEDS OUR PROTECTION TOO Support wildlife protection, reintroduction, and education programs in cooperation with local residents, wildlife rehabilitators, ecological groups, First Nations, other municipalities, districts, and regions, provincial and federal governments, adjacent states and countries, cross-border programs such as the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, and international agreements such as the Migratory Birds Convention Act etc. ECOSYSTEMS AND BIODIVERSITY Reconnect and remediate fragmented ecosystems and ecological communities through wildlife corridors, native plantings, day-lighting historic streams, decommissioning roads and other structures and remediating their sites, and reintroduce extirpated species once viable ecological supports exist. Protect all species, most particularly those who have a great ecosystem impact, those provincially and federally listed species, those at risk of local extirpation, and those at risk of extinction. Incentivize projects, programs, and infrastructure that offer/add/protect ecological and social values within their philosophy, practices, or structures. Adopt a NO NET LOSS OF GREENSPACE POLICY, city-wide. The concept of green space is not simply hectare for hectare, but considering ecological values of biodiversity, protection of endangered or uncommon species and ecological communities, the fragmentation of habitats, with the goal of maintaining and improving our local ecologies, reconnecting fragmented habitats, re-establishing native species and ecologies, and supporting and increasing biodiversity. Of all the things we leave behind when we leave this world…a healthy, biodiverse planet is the most valuable gift we can leave for future generations, for all our relations. OUR PARKS AND PLACES Increase green spaces in low-income neighbourboods. Increase mini-parks and off-leash dog parks. All residential areas should be within walking distance of both parks and dog parks. This improves health outcomes, increases foot traffic, increases eyes on the street, increases safety and community connections. More benches and covered benches/tables and public toilets are needed in parks and public spaces so people can extend their stay outside and enjoy a break along the way. Many seniors, disabled persons, and parents with small children have great need for this and cannot access greenspaces if these amenities are not made available. Improve the paths network to address connectivity, safety, and accessibility for cyclists, walkers, and others using transportation other than cars…i.e. wheelchairs, walkers, strollers, motorized scooters, skateboards, rollerblades and so on. Separated bike lanes are necessary for bicycle commuters on main routes to provide safe commuting options. DO WHAT WE CAN TOGETHER Improve food security by protecting existing Agricultural Land Reserve lands in our jurisdiction and encouraging their active use for local agricultural production. Encourage property owners to grow food for themselves and for the community on their land. Expand community gardens to allow more low-income apartment dwellers to access greenspace to grow their own food. Network with master gardeners and seed-sharing projects to enhance crop diversity, and strengthen resilience and cultural survival through mutual aid. Ban any ecologically damaging practices in our jurisdiction. Support community initiatives to strengthen cooperation, the ecology, and local economy – farmers’ markets, community markets, free markets and stores, maker spaces, and community arts spaces and hubs. Increase frequency of pick up of organics and recycled bins and reduce frequency of pickup of garbage. YES TO EXPANDED BUS SERVICE - NO TO LRT AND SKYTRAIN GreenVote says No to Light Rail Transit and No to Skytrain. The communities most effected by the construction of these mega-projects were ignored, no consent was given at the local level. LRT has little local benefit, and has resulted in increased congestion in the North Surrey construction zone, increased pollution, increased road construction. The "Early Works SNG LRT"projects include the 105 Ave.Connector from Whalley to Guildford- which bisects an elementary school playground leaving Hjorth Park Elementary School (home to the city’s most vulnerable students) on a traffic island between 104 Ave., 148 St., and the 105 Ave. Connector when the City, ignoring wildlife protections, paved a road through Hawthorne Rotary Park over the opposition of over 12,000 residents, draining a 5,000 year old bog and destroying the habitats of many wild animals and plants including 17 endangered species. For the $1.6 Billion approved funds by the federal and provincial governments to be spent on Phase 1 SNG-LRT project, we could easily fund an excellent rapid bus system which would be more affordable and accessible, and provide sustainable jobs. Reviving the interurban rail is another possibility, but would require full public consultation. TRANSPARENCY AT CITY HALL Surrey needs clear policies and practices around decisions made at council. Conflict of Interest rules must be established and followed to avoid the too cosy relationships between elected officials and companies doing business with the City. City councillors who receive campaign donations or other considerations from developers and/or related industry and individuals may not serve on the Planning Committee for example, due to conflict of interest. Improved public participation processes need to be implemented without delay. Meaningful consultation means being open to cancelling or changing projects. OFFICE OF OMBUDSPERSON FOR SURREY Establishment of Office of Ombudsperson in Surrey to address concerns of public on municipal matters when all regular channels have been exhausted. The Ombudsperson would have the power to require the City to reconsider decisions, to follow existing laws, policies, protocols and procedures when the City has not done so. KNOWING THE FACTS OF THE MATTER AND TAKING ACTION Municipal register of property owners and businesses which operate in Surrey, to ensure transparency in council decisions in any dealings with companies that do business with the City, Tracking of City actions/inaction on climate change, and waste policies, Keep a regularly updated register of demolitions, demovictions, AirBnB units, secondary suites, empty homes, rental stocks, and shelter beds, Track numbers of homeless people, people in core housing need, people in short-term rentals, people in unstable, unsafe housing, Monitor pollution, toxins and use the full extent of current laws to mitigate damaging business practices, put in place regulations to monitor any company, organization, or individual who has violated environmental regulations, and provide penalties to eco-offenders, and Regularly assess deficiencies and develop short and long-term plans to remedy them using Best Practices. Work in cooperation with other jurisdictions on regional issues and to promote equality and equity. PROGRESSIVE GREEN TAXATION Changing the tax regime to reflect green values of taxation. Taxation should be based on consumption and waste. Provide tax and other incentives to companies, organizations, and individuals whose actions, policies, and practices have a positive social and ecological effect on those who live in Surrey.

 

You can reach Roslyn at roslyncassells@yahoo.ca


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