Ben Mason (left) and Lister de Vitré have been working with Cumberland council about a Green New Deal. Record file photo

Ben Mason (left) and Lister de Vitré have been working with Cumberland council about a Green New Deal. Record file photo

Cumberland looks to move Green New Deal forward

Council members worked with two youth on resolutions for community’s future

Earlier this year, young two men from Cumberland presented their plan for a Green New Deal to the village.

In response, members of council started meeting with the pair to refine the plan, and things have been moving quickly.

At the most recent meeting, Mayor Leslie Baird and Coun. Jesse Ketler reported on their progress with Lister de Vitré and Ben Mason, who again appeared before council to talk about changes to resolutions following discussions.

“We have been working on a newer draft of the Green New Deal that’s more suitable for Cumberland,” de Vitré said via Zoom. “We’ve learned about what Cumberland can do.”

RELATED STORY: Cumberland pair pitch their Green New Deal

They presented the draft, which is broken down into a range of issues that match the mandate of the Green New Deal. Members of council were impressed by the breadth the pair covered.

“I don’t think you’ve left anything out that is necessary,” said Coun. Gwyn Sproule, who wanted to know where de Vitré and Mason got their research for the document.

They responded that they relied on many different websites and other resources, including information from the Council of Canadians. The document covers a range of issues, including environmental targets, green jobs, Indigenous rights, anti-racism and equity measures, housing, independence of elected officials, transit and transportation, energy, drinking water, wastewater and food security, among others, each with its own series of resolutions.

There will likely be more changes, as some pointed out certain goals seem a bit “lofty.” Coun. Sean Sullivan said he liked the latest changes to the document but also questioned the example of a proposed cut of at least 30 per cent to emissions by 2025 and suggested getting input from the public works department.

“Thirty per cent seems like a lot in four years,” he said. “It’s a great initiative. I’m just hoping that we can meet those goals.”

Mason responded the target is something that can be reviewed, as with other goals in the plan.

“There’s a clause saying that we’ll look back on them and try to figure out new ways to do them, or try to figure out if they’re feasible,” he said.

Coun. Vickey Brown said she supported aiming for the 30 per cent reduction along with other resolutions such as calls for a 20 per cent affordable housing bylaw and on-demand transit.

“It’s important for us to set those goals,” she said. “The sooner we make that leap, the better.”

Staff said they could look into whether the plan would be a stand-alone document or be embedded in something like the official community plan. Council passed a motion to refer the Green New Deal to staff for a report about how to move the plan forward.

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