BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a story titled 'Climate-change plan for Barrie has some lofty goals' published on April 5.
The fact that 55 per cent of Barrie’s air pollution comes from private automobiles shows that we are a typical small city whose residents opt to drive themselves as opposed to relying on a still-developing transit system.
This is nothing new in small cities and has less to do with personal wealth and more to do with the convenience. Oakville and Burlington are wealthy cities that do have more reliable transit systems with increased schedule flexibility that Barrie still lacks.
Stats for the two cities still show that the majority of people would prefer not to take public transit. Major cities like Hamilton and Toronto show more residents of all social classes prefer transit because of its schedule flexibility, convenience, and affordability. One avoids traffic congestion, parking fees and fuel costs.
Getting people to switch to electric vehicles is a good idea, but has more to do with provincial legislation and enforcement than any municipal decisions. Quebec opted to force people to switch to fully electric vehicles by 2035.
So the climate-change plan in Barrie amounts to little more than a waste of time and work. Barrie’s 2019 climate-change plan stated the intent to create extreme heat and cold shelters for homeless people and people needing to escape unpleasant temperatures.
Getting people to walk more is also a personal decision as smaller communities foster a sedentary lifestyle quite unlike the more active lifestyle of urbanites that tend to do more walking and spend most of their lives on the go. This is a harder thing to do in a small city lacking the amenities.
Forcing people to retrofit their homes is not going to work as this would trigger a constitutional legal battle. Making environmental changes to factories and dirty industries is also something that must happen above the municipal level.