IN THE MEDIA
Organic Waste, Green Bin Collection
“I would strongly advocate for starting a green bin program sooner than later,” said Coun. Jo-Dee Burbach. “It will cost a little more on the front end because we have to buy green bins and get the service going, but I think it’s pretty important. I find a lot of people ask me for it, and it’s a priority for a lot of people. And environmentally speaking, it’s the right thing to do.”
“I believe that having a dual truck that is able to collect garbage and organics at the same time is very important, and the only time we can do that is right now, unless we want to wait seven years,” Coun. Jo-Dee Burbach said, adding that she’s heard from dozens of residents and business owners who have come forward in favour of an organics program in Stratford.
Climate action, environmental initiatives
“Because of the UN report that came out that says we have 12 years to do something about the climate, I would really think that some sort of climate action plan would be really important, and that’s something I will be definitely bringing forward that maybe we don’t quite have yet,” Burbach said.
While council has discussed items like banning single-use plastics in city facilities and developing a zero-waste strategy in the past, Burbach intends to reintroduce those ideas to further the discussion. She also plans on requesting an update from staff on the city’s biodigester study, which, if implemented, would turn organic waste into methane gas that can be used as a renewable energy source.
As affordable housing was a hot-button issue among voters, Burbach would also like to see council investigate building incentives and reworking the city’s comprehensive zoning bylaw to allow for secondary dwelling units to supplement the new affordable units being built by the city as part of its Britannia Street housing project.
Stratford Coun. Jo-Dee Burbach, who sits on the city’s energy and environment committee, also noted that increasing the number of trees in the city will serve to absorb more carbon and further reduce Stratford’s ecological footprint.
“The majority of land in Stratford is privately owned, so in order to increase our tree canopy to a healthier level, we need to work together,” Burbach said in the press release. “This program is an excellent opportunity for homeowners to add a native tree to their property in a convenient and affordable way, and it takes the guesswork out of finding the right species for our area.”
Couns. Kathy Vassilakos and Jo-Dee Burbach also spoke about the need for more information on the emissions-reduction impacts of the specific projects recommended by staff at Monday’s meeting, which included converting the city’s bus fleet to electric and implementing green-development standards, before deciding on a target.
The committee voted to recommend that council set a 30 per cent target for 2030 and a target for 2050 of reducing emissions in the city to net zero.
“I would also like to add [to my motion that Council set a 30% GHG reduction target for 2030] that we would annually review these reduction targets so that we might look to update and reset them as we have more information,” Burbach said.
Coun. Jo-Dee Burbach introduced a motion to include the hiring of a Stratford climate-change coordinator as a service expansion in the 2022 draft budget.
“At the (recent) ROMA (Rural Ontario Municipal Association) conference, they talked about the importance of mainstreaming climate change into all of our policies and planning documents and applying a climate lens as well to update them,” Burbach said.
The councillor said that while it’s important to form a working group comprising city staff this year to determine exactly what resources are needed to implement corporate climate-change initiatives across all departments, it’s also important to have someone in place and ready to lead those initiatives when the time comes.
“There are a couple of big projects that are coming forward in the next year that we really will need extra hands on deck for,” Burbach said. “One of them is the official plan update, and the other is the creation of green development standards.
“I think it’s great. I think it’s really needed and I’m excited to see this moving forward,” Coun. Jo-Dee Burbach said at Monday’s meeting.
“I’m really glad to see this item coming forward and I wanted to thank the active transportation advisory committee and the accessibility advisory committee, both of whom flagged these as really important areas,” Coun. Jo-Dee Burbach said. “We’ve been prioritizing them and it’s really nice to see this work coming to fruition. I’d like to thank the citizens who helped us choose these areas for sidewalk upgrades, especially around the hospital."
As future development and road improvements are made in that area, Burbach said she would ultimately like to see the creation of a multi-use trail that extends along T.J. Dolan Drive east of St. Vincent Street South connecting to Stratford’s downtown core.
“I would love to see an active transportation trail continue along that stretch, possibly making it one-way so that people could still access their driveways, but also making space for a nice, safe active transportation trail that … would link to the parks system going around the river,” she said.
Anti Racism Advocacy
“I would say that 95 per cent of our residents know that the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate. They accept that and they would never display this hate symbol on their property,” Burbach added after reading Maxwell’s comments. “But I have seen some discussion and debate on local social media pages recently about this issue, and some of the five per cent are defending the right to display the flag, arguing that it’s not an anti-Black racist symbol, and it’s a symbol representing the ‘good ol’ boys.’ … Perhaps in the past, the Confederate flag was a symbol of … anti-establishment and rebellion, but for the vast majority of people now, it represents something very different.
“What I would ask the residents of Stratford to consider is the intent of your actions versus the impact it has on other people. … Just because you legally can do something at this time, doesn’t mean you should.”
“I talked to some Indigenous residents in Stratford and I was asking them how they felt about how things were going in Stratford and what it was they might need,” Coun. Jo-Dee Burbach said at Tuesday’s meeting. “One thing that was consistent was that they would like to have a place to gather, a place of healing, so that’s something I would like the city to consider."
“I’m really thankful that Todd and Loreena have come together to create this garden,” Burbach added. “I think it’s a very special day where we want to celebrate Indigenous cultures, as well as remember the history that settlers have brought. So, I think this talking circle and Medicine Wheel garden is a perfect spot for us to come together as First Nations people and settlers and start having conversations.
“It’s an important spot to focus on healing and reconciling.”
Community Equity Action Team
June 14, 2021 "R2021-259 Motion by Councillor Burbach Seconded by Councillor Ingram THAT the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing be requested to establish policies and procedures around the use of Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZO); AND THAT as part of this process there be a requirement that any request for an MZO be considered in open session by municipal councils."
"Coun. Jo-Dee Burbach also suggested applications for MZOs should be discussed and approved at council in a public meeting before being submitted to the ministry.
“Minister Clark did speak about MZOs last year quite a lot in media, and his recommendation was that municipal councils do approve in a public session the use of an MZO. However, as we know, it’s not policy yet,” Burbach said at Monday’s meeting. “So on June 14, we did pass a motion to request from the minister that it be amended so that there would be some municipal input into the use of MZOs.”
Ultimately, councillors voted 6-4 to maintain council’s current composition beyond the 2022 municipal election, with Ingram, Sebben, Jo-Dee Burbach and Kathy Vassilakos voting against the motion.