Blind River council will work at considering future decisions based on environmental impact.
The motion, moved by Coun. Jim Dunbar and seconded by Coun. Steven Wells, will look at environmental impacts without moving ahead to declare Blind River a climate emergency community.
Coun. Dunbar’s motion stated that since February of this year, 288 communities have declared a climate emergency and the fact Blind River would be at the forefront of the communities in northern Ontario and could see funding possibilities, the town should support the plan to make environmental decisions.
“There are significant economic opportunities if Blind River were to become an environmental leader of climate change, adaption and technology, therefore be it resolved that the town of Blind River ensure the environmental impact is in the forefront when making decisions,” the motion read.
The motion came after Kate Mitchell made a presentation to council at its meeting in July asking council to make the declaration. Mitchell said in her July presentation that similar declarations have been approved by Sudbury and West Nipissing.
Among the municipalities considering a declaration, some have declared an emergency while others have declared it as a crisis.
“We’re quite small compared to Sudbury, so it would be pretty great to do that,” Mitchell said in her July presentation to council.
“It is a declaration confirming our community values the environment,” Mitchell continued. “It is a commitment toward being a greener community. It will have influence on each choice made by present and future councils; and will ensure we keep the environment at the forefront of each decision. It demonstrates to the community that council is promoting being environmentally friendly and taking an active step to protect our beautiful town for generations.”
“I think we all know that despite some naysayers climate change is not fake news it is reality and we’ve seen the summer with heat waves in Europe,” he said.
“The declaration of a climate emergency will lead to the creation of a climate action plan which I assume will change town policy and bylaws,” Coun. Wells said at Monday’s meeting.
In July, Mitchell noted climate change has had its impact in Blind River with heavy snowfall this winter on municipal buildings and recent forest fires with smoke drifting in to Blind River from fires in the southern portion of the province last summer. An increase in the number of ticks with Lyme disease is also being attributed to climate change.
That council commitment was made by the current council on Monday evening.