Protecting the Ravine
Mary Fragedakis believes Toronto's ravines are an important gem worthy of our attention and protection. The Japanese have an expression 'Shinrin-yoku' which is a term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing." Within Toronto's natural system there are Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs) with unique environmental qualities. Mary supported protecting those ESAs and supported developing an overall Ravine Strategy. She is committed to working with the community to address issues like erosion, invasive species and pollution.
Climate Change & the Environment
Mary has been a consistent voice and vote in favour of addressing our cliimate change crisis and protecting our environment. In the past few years, the City has upgraded the Toronto Green Standard, developed a Green Market Acceleration Program (GMAP) and taken other critical steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impact of climate change culminating in TransformTO. Mary Fragedakis has been a staunch supporter of these initiatives, always voting to ensure they were properly funded.
Mary beleives we need to foster the Green Energy Economy to address climate change, make our city more affordable and create good jobs. This is what the City’s TransformTO climate change action plan is all about, but we need to make sure we fund that program fully and monitor it carefully so we can improve it as we go.
Investing in retrofitting and weatherizing buildings will pay dividends in lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy costs for people, making homes healthier. It will create jobs that will give people important skills. In the case of apartment buildings, installing smart cooling systems will allow tenants to keep cool for less money and use less energy.
This must be coupled with new green infrastructure and alternative energy programs. We need to extend all of these programs to houses and design them to include low-income households.
In Toronto, buildings and transportation account for almost 90 percent of our emissions. So, Mary knows the other half of this is investing in public transit and making active transportation – walking & cycling – safer & more convenient.
Improving public transit is one of the best ways to cope with climate change and protect our environment. Mary has always been a public transit champion and has been a leading advocate for the Hop On Hop Off transfer policy on the TTC. A University of Toronto engineer researched some 100 infrastructure and policy options in the transportation, energy and basic services sectors and why the time-based transfer option was deemed by far the best in this online article. Mary’s focus has and will continue to be on evidence-based transit ideas that work for Toronto.