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Cumberland Declares the Right to a Healthy Environment

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On March 9, 2015, Council endorsed the following declaration. Find out more about Cumberland’s sustainability and green initiatives and the blue dot movement.

Whereas the Village of Cumberland understands that people are part of the environment, and that a healthy environment is inextricably linked to the well-being of our community;

And Whereas the Village of Cumberland Official Community Plan provides a strong policy foundation and the Village’s Corporate Strategic Priorities include goals to pursue actions and initiatives that contribute toward a healthy environment;

Therefore Be It Resolved that the Village of Cumberland endorses the following declaration in principle:

“All people have the right to live in a healthy environment, including

  • the right to breathe clean air;
  • the right to drink clean water;
  • the right to consume safe food;
  • the right to access nature;
  • the right to know about pollutants and contaminants released into the local environment; and
  • the right to participate in decision-making that will affect the environment.”

The Village of Cumberland has the responsibility, within its jurisdiction, to respect, fulfill and promote these rights.

The Village of Cumberland will apply the precautionary principle that where threats of serious or irreversible damage to human health or the environment exist, the Village of Cumberland will take cost effective measures to prevent the degradation of the environment and protect the health of its citizens where it is financially feasible within the current budget. Lack of full scientific certainty shall not be viewed as sufficient reason for the Village of Cumberland to postpone such measures.

The Village of Cumberland shall endeavor to apply full cost accounting when evaluating reasonably foreseeable costs of proposed actions and alternatives and will consider costs to human health and the environment.

The Village of Cumberland will consider objectives, targets, timelines and actions within its jurisdiction to fulfill residents’ rights to a healthy environment, including options to

  • ensure equitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens within the municipality, preventing the development of pollution “hot spots”;
  • ensure infrastructure and development projects protect the environment, including air quality;
  • address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and implementing adaption measures;
  • prioritize walking, cycling and public transit as preferred modes of transportation;
  • ensure adequate infrastructure for the provision of safe and accessible drinking water;
  • promote the availability of safe foods;
  • reduce solid waste and promote recycling and composting;
  • establish and maintain accessible green spaces in all residential neighbourhoods;
  • increase density responsibly.

The Village of Cumberland will review these objectives, targets, timelines and actions in a timely manner through its annual review of its corporate strategic priorities.

The Village of Cumberland will consult residents as part of this process.

The Village of Cumberland will encourage the development of provincial and federal legislation that would further enshrine these rights.

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