Given the significant importance of the Great Lakes water basin to the economic vitality and environmental health of York Region, as the Mayor of Aurora, it was an immense honour to represent not only our town but also York Region at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Great Lakes – St Lawrence Cities Initiative last week. An initiative established in 2003 by Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago and Mayor David Miller of Toronto as the founding Canadian Chair, “The Great Lakes – St Lawrence Cities Initiative is a binational coalition of over 200 municipal and regional mayors and officials from the United States and Canada, working together to protect and restore these vital water bodies. These lakes and river supply approximately 20 percent of the world’s surface freshwater, serve as a source of drinking water for 40 million people, and form the foundation of a strong regional economy.”
Attending the AGM provided a unique opportunity to connect with neighbouring cities and towns that share our dedication to environmental conservation and sustainable practices. Throughout the AGM, we took part in many panel discussions, informative workshops, and interactive sessions, focusing on critical issues affecting our region. Topics ranged from water quality and conservation efforts to climate change mitigation, sustainable development, and the protection of natural habitats.
Additionally, the AGM provided an excellent networking platform, enabling us to establish strong partnerships with stakeholders such as non-profit organizations, academia, and environmentally conscious businesses. By making these connections, we gain access to essential resources, funding opportunities, and expert guidance, empowering us to make Aurora a more environmentally aware and resilient town.
We all recognize the interconnectedness of our environment and the significance of protecting the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Our active participation in the Great Lakes – St Lawrence Cities Initiative signifies our unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship and underscores the importance of collective action in tackling regional environmental challenges.
Together, we will continue to champion the protection of our precious natural resources, promote sustainable practices, and work towards a brighter future not only for Aurora but also for our province and country.