Tiny adds 'clout' to support Severn Sound's call for action

·3 min read

The deadline for a joint resolution to support the environment prompted Tiny Township committee of the whole to bend procedural rules a little.

During the new business section of the recent meeting, Coun. Steffen Walma brought the matter to the committee’s attention; Walma is also the chair of the Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA), an eight-municipality environmental protection partnership around Severn Sound.

“Our executive director at the SSEA, Julie Cayley, reached out,” said Walma. “The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) has put out a call for resolutions.”

The Cities Initiative began in 2003 as a non-profit organization in the U.S. and registered corporation in Canada. Over 120 member municipalities representing roughly 14 million people around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin have joined to advance the protection and restoration of said ecosystem in advocating for policy, collaboration of shared interest issues, and education of solutions to common challenges.

From the request, the GLSLCI is soliciting resolutions for review and approval consideration at an upcoming annual general meeting this June in Chicago. Resolutions notify governing bodies and the public of important issues while guiding the organization.

Said Walma: “(Cayley) suggested that a joint resolution would be a good idea to add a little more oomph or clout to the call to action, if you will.”

The committee of the whole took time to quickly craft a resolution that, in conjunction with the SSEA, called upon upper levels of government to support Great Lakes communities for controlling the removal of invasive species as well as increasing investment of water quality and climate action.

However, the request was for council to pass the resolution brought to the committee of the whole meeting in an interesting slot of timing as Tiny council wouldn’t be reconvening before the requested March 31 deadline.

CAO Robert Lamb addressed the committee as the resolution was being drafted.

“Because this is a committee meeting and our next council meeting isn’t until after the deadline, I just wanted council-committee to be aware that you’re going to pre-authorize authority to submit it, which technically we wouldn’t have until it was ratified by council.

“So we’re actually going to take an action before we’re legally supposed to… but for a good cause,” noted Lamb.

Cayley spoke to MidlandToday about the involvement by the SSEA and its eight municipalities in championing those causes within the resolution.

“Severn Sound is part of the Great Lakes community,” said Cayley, “and it is significant that our member municipalities are working collaboratively at an international scale through the SSEA partnership to protect and restore water quality and create a resilient watershed.”

She further commended Tiny council for taking the lead on “this critical step” of developing the joint resolution.

“We all rely on a healthy environment, good water quality for our health, the health of our communities and our economy.

“By taking a local resolution forward to the GLSLCI,” added Cayley, “we have the opportunity to leverage support from mayors and municipalities around the Great Lakes on both sides of the border, sending a strong message to our Federal, Provincial and State partners. Working together is how we will make progress protecting the Great Lakes ecosystem.”

Walma stated that a copy of the notification and resolution had been passed to other municipalities, with Cayley adding that “something similar” would likely be addressed at the upcoming council meeting for Tay Township.

Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca