White Rock urged to adopt declaration for environmental rights

White Rock residents to present delegation at city council Monday

A White Rock woman will be spearheading a delegation to council Monday urging the city to adopt a municipal declaration of environmental rights.

Michelle MacNeill is to appear along with fellow volunteers from the David Suzuki Foundation, on behalf of the organization’s Blue Dot Movement. MacNeill, who first saw Suzuki lecture last spring, had been a volunteer with the foundation for a year when she became involved with Blue Dot.

The movement, she said, is “a growing national grassroots movement based on the idea that everyone in Canada deserves the right to enjoy fresh air, clean water and safe food.”

She noted that other B.C. cities – including Richmond and Vancouver  – have already passed the declaration.

“It’s about getting the conversation going. If the city decides to pass an environmental declaration of rights, it’s non-binding. So it’s more of a statement from the community on their willingness to address local environmental concerns,” MacNeill said Wednesday, noting that White Rock has both air- and water-quality issues that are of concern.

The ultimate goal for MacNeill and supporters of the Blue Dot Movement is to have the declaration enshrined in the Canadian constitution.

“You would think we would have something like this in place, given that almost every (other) country in the world has one,” MacNeill said.

She noted that while improvements need to be made, White Rock is ahead of the game when it comes to protecting the environment. The city’s pesticide bylaw and waste-reduction program is one example, she said.

“That’s why I think White Rock would be a wonderful community to take the lead on something like this,” she said. “The movement is really growing, it’s really taken off.

“I’m just one of many people in White Rock who are involved in this. We’re trying to get more awareness around it and get more people engaged.”

While MacNeill admits she is unsure how mayor and council will respond to their request, she remains hopeful that the city will take the initiative.

“We all really do deserve a future that is healthier and more secure. The thing that is really neat about this movement is that it’s all walks of life coming together,” she said.

“I really believe that we can make this happen.”

Monday’s (Feb. 16) council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at White Rock City Hall, 15322 Buena Vista Ave.



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