Nanaimo Pushes Urban Sprawl To The Limits
My Opinion:Vancouver Island, Canada is an area of stunning natural beauty.
Unfortunately many who reside in Nanaimo take the gifts of nature for granted. Land developers purchased a large tract of formerly forested land to subdivide and put in 2 hectare(5 acre approx.) lots. Locals didn't oppose the move much but when the first plans were presented to the public, 20 story towers, a golf course, big shopping area and more than 1000 dwelling units were on the table. That's when the controversy really started. Densification is the newest wisdom for helping preserve our increasingly fragile climate balance so what is the problem? This tract of land is 17 km from the city centre. It is surrounded by rural residential and agricultural land. Some of this land is in a neighbouring jurisdiction and to accommodate the developers' plans, the City applied to annex land because it wasn't zoned for dense development. The people most affected by the annexation had no voice, but nearly 8 000 people who live in Nanaimo took the time to vote the annexation down. This area has no public transit and is unlikely to see any in the next few years.
Most climate scientists point to rising carbon-dioxide levels from burning coal, oil, and gas as the main driver behind global warming. But the international team says that fighting ozone, soot, and other pollutants, which also can warm the atmosphere, could allow CO2 levels to rise a little higher without reaching the tipping point.
"This is good news," notes Gavin Schmidt, a member of the research team and a scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), in an e-mail. "There is scope for effective action, even though it will fall short of stopping human-caused climate change completely."
Yet this more comprehensive approach to curbing emissions is unlikely to remain an option for too long, according to James Hansen, a climate scientist also at GISS and lead author of the study. If global CO2 emissions continue on their current "business as usual" path for another 10 years, he notes, "it becomes impractical to achieve the alternative scenario." The business-as-usual approach allows too many fossil-fuel intensive power plants and factories to be built – investments designed to last for decades, he adds.
The notion of "dangerous" climate change is somewhat subjective, the team acknowledges. But looking back at climate patterns since the last warm spell – between ice ages more than 75,000 years ago – the researchers say patterns in the climate's actual behavior suggest that a change in global average temperatures higher than 1 degree Celsius above the level in 2000 would begin to push the climate into the "dangerous" category. That category involves changes, such as sea-level rise, that are outside the local range of experience, the study says.
Holding temperature increases to less than 1 degree over 2000 levels would be likely to hold global average temperatures at a level at least occasionally experienced today.
Such targets represent "advisory speed limits," according to Dr. Schmidt. But they come strongly advised: "What should be the target for mugging old ladies? You want to minimize the number, regardless."
So, it would seem that we do have some time to make changes. The Nanaimo City Council held a public hearing this week to hear interested parties speak about rezoning this large tract of land to a resort designation. As the following letter says it more eloquently than I, the speakers were divided along mainly two lines. One impassioned speaker presented a different twist to the proposed Cable Bay Development. She begged the developers to not put residential housing in the area because of probable pollution nasties -- methyl mercury, lead -- on the land from exposure to pulp mill discharges. (The mill is an old one and has since cleaned up a lot, but 50 years ago pollution was not relevant here.)
Re: 'Resort hearing draws big crowd' (Daily News, Sept. 5).
You report how Mayor Gary Korpan "made it clear council was only interested in genuine concerns about the land use application" and "the topic you're discussing is very important but that's not what we're here to talk about tonight, Korpan told Jordan Ellis".
Indeed, I was duly admonished by his worship.
Most of the 60 % or so who spoke in favour of Cable Bay addressed only the single issue of the possible economic benefits of such a development.
I was trying to speak to more global and frankly about more important issues concerning this development.
Apparently, the "100 months to tipping point" research was not on topic to the mayor. But, when considering such a project, what could be more important than the overall planetary issues of climate change and global warming and the concomitant ones of water shortage, food production, species extinction, etc. that globally face all of us? All political parties are beginning to give climate change some consideration. Civic government should be no less responsible.
Cable Bay may create significant greenhouse gas emissions, add a large "carbon footprint," deleteriously affect many local resources and impact the immediate local area and its present rural lifestyle of choice.
The city has, with this application a golden opportunity to demonstrate compassionate, understanding leadership to the world about how to handle such challenging global issues when local new development is proposed.
I guess I'll have to ask his worship when would be the right occasion to be allowed to express my opinion.
Jordan Ellis, Nanaimo