For a greener municipal life

Human activity is a threat to the environment. An unavoidable paradox. We must reduce our footprint on the planet. How to achieve this is arguably the most talked about, if not controversial, issue of our times. Individuals, communities, countries all have to reflect, contribute and find solutions as our future depends on it.

Municipalities and regional bodies, such as MRCs, are actively involved in recycling, public transport and land management initiatives aimed at reducing the negative impact of our activities on our milieu. Can they do more? If so, what and at what cost to citizens?

Municipalities issue building permits and provide drinking water to their populations. They have the power to regulate in these areas.

As reported recently in Tempo, TBL is in a construction boom right now. One construction project boasts that it will be carbo-neutral. This is a commendable goal set by the promoters themselves. Why not adjust our bylaws to set useful environmental targets?

Every construction project could be graded by a “Green Test” based on green criteria: are the materials used locally procured from a sustainable source? What measures will reduce waste on the building site? What energy (passive such as solar or wind, insulation, airtight windows) and water (use of gray water and rain collection systems) efficiencies will be used?

Green criteria would require builders to promote them in order to qualify for a building permit from TBL. And TBL’s reputation as an eco-friendly town would make it that much more attractive for its present and future residents.

For years TBL had to deal with water restrictions. New construction will increase demand for water. To enable sustainable growth, the Green Test could also require water meters on all new construction – and eventually all buildings – a major step towards an eco-conscious use and preservation of water.

Building green may be more expensive, but over time green buildings are cheaper to run.

Demolishing and reconstructing may also have a more negative impact on the environment – it grows landfills – than reusing an exist- ing building. Why demolish a healthy, safe and liveable building only to replace it with a more massive one generating a heftier tax bill? Sadly, that criterion is currently what drives our development bylaws.

Our towns have the power to reduce our footprint on the environment and, in the process, improve the quality of our homes, our lives and our future. As citizens and communities, we must push for more eco-responsible bylaws from our elected officials.

Together, let’s protect Mount Foster forever

If you have never had the opportunity to climb to the tower at the summit of Mount Foster in West Bolton and St-Étienne- de-Bolton, you have missed a memorable experience. When you stand on the Scouts Tower, you have the feeling that you might be able to see Montreal, New York and Toronto. Imagine taking the family on a hike on foot, snowshoes or cross-country skis and appreciating this exceptional natural area.

A contribution to the Appalachian Corridor (ACA) will assist in its goal of purchasing 217 ha of forest covering the summit of Mount Foster.