By Pat Warren
KAWARTHA LAKES-City of Kawartha Lakes council has adopted a new format for council meetings, including a Committee of the Whole. This format allows a less formal approach for public input. Issues up for debate at Committee of the Whole still have to go to a regular council meeting for ratification.
At the first meeting on Tuesday, council heard from residents concerned about limited service agreements to shoreline road agreements and a few presentations added in for good measure. Council had a full afternoon.
There was a group from Pleasant Point who wanted to have a say on whether a shoreline road allowance (SRA)owned by the city would be declared surplus and sold to the abutting landowners. Historically the city has sold many of these SRAs to abutting landowners over the years.
Shoreline Road Allowances were enacted many years ago to protect people on the water so they would have access to land owned by the municipality. Over the years the need for theses SRAs have diminished but the issue at Pleasant Point is a special case.
The SRA along Pleasant Point is a trail that has been used by the community for many years. It is probably the only one like it in the municipality.
The abutting landowners wanted to purchase the road allowance because there were some residents and visitors who were not respectful of the strip of land known as Jesse Street which is really the path running along the shoreline.
However, the majority of the deputants wanted the path to remain a city asset.
Councillor Dunn commented that Pleasant Point is a historically special area and as such he made a motion that the SRA be retained for the time being. Mayor Letham supported the resolution saying that the group should reconvene in the summer to see whether they could come to a resolution to the issues along the Jesse St. shoreline road allowance.
“The Most Important Issue of Our Time”
At the same meeting there was a presentation by climate specialists Deborah Pearson and Gini Collings , regarding climate change in Kawartha Lakes. They explained why climate change is the most important issue of our time. From draughts, floods, ice storms fires to rain bombs, it’s costing us now. The insurance companies are really paying attention to all the increased weather events because just in Ontario alone last year they paid out 1.2 billion dollars. “It used to be in the millions for the whole country” she said.
They informed Council that the main source of greenhouse gas emissions in Kawartha Lakes are from our buildings and transportation. Gini Collings said that climate change is also causing an increase in health issues from vectors that cause Lyme disease and West Nile Virus.
The good news is that the COKL growing season will begin earlier and be end later.
Councillor Ashmore asked if we have only been measuring these changes for the last 130 years with the earth 800 million years old,
how can we be 100% sure that man has caused these changes and that it is not from natural forces like volcanos?
He was told by Deborah Pearson that 97% of scientists are sure that the warming changes are caused by humans. Core samples taken from the artic have proven this
She also said” climatologists have as much consensus on climate change as they do about the concept of gravity so it is pretty much confirmed. There is also the Flat Earth Society out there but we have to respect those people who have dedicated their lives to do the right thing for humanity. “
Councillor Tracy Richardson commented “I am a local agricultural grower of native trees in this area and we have seen dramatic climate changes in our growing season. I can say that we are growing trees today that we couldn’t 8 years ago because of climate change.”
COKL is developing a mitigation and adaptation climate action plan called the Healthy Environment Plan that will include actions we can take to help our environment. This action plan will be presented to Council in March.
The next Committee of the Whole meeting is February 12th at 1pm.