Applications Now Open for Citizen Advisory Committees

At the beginning of each new term, Brampton City Council approves a list of committees, boards and tribunals that will provide them advice on specific matters requiring a citizen voice and aligning with the City’s Strategic Plan. Each committee has a mandate and workplan, (usually updated annually), is supported by city staff and, in many cases, handles work that staff don’t usually perform.

Most of these committees are composed of citizen volunteers who have an interest in specific aspects of the city building process and who want to be involved in helping shape the policy and direction of city growth. The Environment Advisory Committee (BEAC) is one of these civic bodies.

BEAC’s purpose is to assist, educate, and engage the community to advance the goals and actions of the City’s Environmental Master Plan (EMP). The Committee advises Council on environmental planning policy and sustainability matters to promote the protection, enhancement, and management of the City’s natural and built environment.

The BEAC is comprised of 12-15 citizen members including one Council member who, for this term, is Councillor Gurpartap Singh Toor. BEAC meetings are held every other month and usually last about 2 hours. Sub-committees are formed to perform specific tasks identified in the workplan.

I joined the BEAC as a citizen member in 2012 and have participated through 2 1/2 Council terms and three Mayors. I have seen the environment move from being a fringe topic of Council discussion to being a mainstream Council priority, driven mostly by climate change.

I’ve been involved in many environmental advocacy initiatives including Heart Lake Road Ecology, the City’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan, the declaration of a climate emergency and the creation of an active transportation department and master plan, (ATMP).

I’ve been involved in many community outreach activities including helping organize an Ontario environment advisory committee symposium, the creation of the Grow Green Network, (now the BEA), and the City’s first Earth Day festival and awards celebration.

I’ve also had considerable input into the City’s 2040 Vision, the development plan for Heritage Heights, the Uptown densification strategy, the Downtown revitalization plan and the Riverwalk Flood Control and Management Project, among others.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have met and worked with some very wonderful people, committee members, council and staff. We sometimes disagreed on approach or priority but we all felt passionately about the importance of environmental sustainability to the health and well-being of Brampton’s citizens.

I’ve decided not to put my name forward for a BEAC position for this Council term. It’s not because I think the job is done, far from it. Continued environmental degradation is by far the biggest threat to the quality of our way of life, maybe even to our very survival. But it is time for those with new and innovative ideas to step forward and be heard. I encourage you to do so.

As quoted in the Citizen Appointment Public Notice published by the City Clerk’s office, “Citizen appointments play a critical role in how we plan for the future. Public participation is vital to good governance and growth. Together, we can make the best possible Brampton. Please consider putting your name forward to help shape today and a thriving tomorrow for our City.”

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