By William Crooks
Local Journalism Initiative
A team, headed by Sherbrooke Mayor Évelyne Beaudin, presented the city’s new ‘Nature Plan’ to interested citizens in Lennoxville Sept. 26. The presentation, followed by a question period, took place at the Amédée-Beaudoin Community Centre in front of around 20 people and began at 6:30 p.m.
Beaudin opened with some prefatory remarks. It is our obligation to make sure our region is as resilient as possible to the local effects of climate change, she began, which includes our orientation towards economic development. She insisted every decision she has made as Mayor has taken into account the well-being of Sherbrooke’s current and future citizens. The ‘Nature Plan’ was the result of years of work involving scientific experts. She emphasized that the signs of global warming are becoming “increasingly visible”, and our duty to our precious natural environment justifies the ‘Nature Plan’ measures along with maintaining a differently-functioning but equally dynamic economy.
The ‘Nature Plan’ presentation team outlined and justified the implementation of it as follows:
Sherbrooke has a significant natural heritage that contributes to the lives of its citizens. Only a third of Sherbrooke is urban, another third is rural, and the rest is agricultural. Water quality depends on the health of its surrounding environments, like woodlands and wetlands.
Areas of intended preservation were chosen according to ecological criteria. Areas of conservation are to be protected, used sustainably, or restored. This resulted in an action plan to be initiated over the next ten years.
Protected environments are to be maintained in their natural ecological state. Sustainability entails that usage of any qualifying area is possible as long as no harm is being done to it.
Forty-five per cent of Sherbrooke will be maintained in its natural state. Ninety-three per cent of wetlands will be conserved. All water-related natural features will be conserved, including lakes, rivers, streams, shorelines, and floodplains. Eighty-three per cent of woodlands will be preserved.