Mapleton council approves new environmental stewardship advisory committee

MAPLETON – Council here has agreed to establish a new committee to provide advice on matters relating to environmental stewardship within the township.

A motion to create the environmental stewardship committee of council was presented by councillor Martin Tamlyn and approved unanimously at the Jan. 31 meeting.

“With climate change so central to our communities, to our economics and environment …  and the movement that the county is making and citizens are asking for, it’s prudent on our part to form a committee to work with different sectors within the community to look at our building practices, agriculture, the way we move around, the way we take care of our forests and linking into all the other great initiatives and funding that’s happening already,” Tamlyn told council.

“I think it’s a really important part of how we live and work in this community. So I think is an essential.”

“Are there similar committees like this at other municipalities, or at the county level, that we could use as guidance?” asked councillor Marlene Ottens.

“Or would this be a leadership area that Mapleton is doing?”

“It’s certainly going to be a leadership area that Mapleton is doing,” said Mayor Gregg Davidson.

“The county does have environmental stewardship, part of their planning department, and they do a number of initiatives which we certainly could partner with … But this is certainly initiative for locally.

“I know we’ve had some interest locally from people in the community to work on environmental aspects.”

Davidson added, “There are other townships that do have environmental stewardship-type committees.

“So we wouldn’t be the first ones, but certainly we’d be one of the first townships in the county doing it.”

“I think this is a great idea. I think it’s also an opportunity for a small rural township that has a massive agricultural community to take lead on something like this,” said councillor Michael Martin.

“I think the ag community gets dragged on by a lot of environmental groups unfairly. So I think that this could be a really good opportunity to turn that narrative around into something positive, because I really think that’s what it is.

“And, a lot of times, environmental folks are very much based in urban areas, not in the country – so I think to have that perspective is a really cool opportunity.”

Councillor Amanda Reid pointed out the committee also “allows us, working with township staff too … to look at different ways of approaching replacements for, even vehicles per se, as we go through the next couple of years (looking at) what the most efficient things are.”

Reid added, “And I think (the committee) would be able to give us really good advice on directions to head, based on staff recommendations as well.”

In a separate motion appointing individuals to council committees, Tamlyn was appointed to the new committee with Mayor Gregg Davidson as an ex-officio member.

The township will be putting out a call to the community for additional members to join the committee.