Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/3/2012 (3706 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The province is working on its first-ever environmental strategy covering everything from climate change to recycling, and local environmentalists say it's about time.
"We thought it was important to plan several years out to have a road map, a blueprint to see how we allocated resources as well, so Manitobans know how the pieces fit together," said Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh recently.
Mackintosh said the strategy, due this summer, will cover "most environmental challenges we face in Manitoba," including a new climate-change action plan, a peatlands strategy and a vision for recycling and garbage diversion.
It will be followed up with legislation where required, he said.
Manitoba enjoys some of the greenest energy on the continent but has fallen behind in several other areas. Recycling rates are among the lowest in Canada. Manitoba will not reach its Kyoto emissions-reductions targets despite a pledge made several years ago with much fanfare. Winnipeg is the only major Canadian city without a rapid-transit system and the province is among the few without a cosmetic-pesticide ban.
Josh Brandon, spokesman for the Green Action Centre, said he's pleased the province is working on a broad plan. On his wish list is a new focus on cleaning up Lake Winnipeg that brings together a series of watershed-management plans already completed. And, he said, the province needs a comprehensive plan to boost recycling and composting rates while also coping with electronic waste.
"We also really need to come up with a greenhouse-gas-emissions plan to replace and follow up on the Kyoto commitments the province has failed to reach," said Brandon. The plan has to cover all sectors: agriculture, transportation and industry, he added.
Kristina Hunter, a professor in the University if Manitoba's environment and geography department, said she would love to see the province get more aggressive on urban planning, to encourage the creation of denser, more walkable communities instead of sprawl.
"That's a real void, in my estimation," said Hunter, who is also the vice-chairwoman of the province's roundtable on sustainable development.
GOT some thoughts on groundwater? The province wants to hear them.
The government is modernizing its 50-year-old Groundwater and Water Well Act. It's launching a round of public consultations on whether to license well-drillers, on new designations for sensitive areas, on new rules for wells in flood-prone areas and better standards.
About 1,500 water wells are drilled in Manitoba each year. A quarter of Manitobans regularly rely on groundwater for a variety of purposes.
A discussion paper and more information is available on Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship's website (www.manitoba.ca/waterstewardship/groundwater)