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Vernon called upon to join the Blue Dot movement

June 14, 2016 - 4:30 PM

VERNON - Vernon is being urged to join more than 100 other municipalities in acknowledging peoples’ rights to live in a healthy environment.

It’s called the Blue Dot movement, and was created by renowned environmentalist David Suzuki to see peoples' right to fresh air, clean water and safe food enshrined in the Canadian Constitution.

The movement asks municipalities to pass declarations for a healthy environment, and advocates of the initiative approached Vernon city council Monday.

“There are 24 Blue Dot communities in B.C. including Lake Country, and 137 across Canada,” Keli Westgate told council. “Visitors come to our Okanagan home because of the gift of nature we have here. Becoming a Blue Dot community is the logical next step.”

The declaration will help guide transportation, agriculture and development plans in the city with a lens on environmental health, Westgate said.

Fellow proponent Terry Dyck said the city’s Official Community Plan already aligns with many of the objectives of the Blue Dot movement.

“We’re all about the future and that’s what the Blue Dot movement is all about,” Dyck said.

Council will discuss becoming a Blue Dot community at its next meeting June 27, but the concept is already generating some interest among politicians.

“For me, I would like to see a lot of these things entrenched in our policies,” Coun. Juliette Cunningham said.

Once enough municipalities join the movement, the next step will be getting the province to follow suit and pass an environmental bill of rights. When seven out of 10 provinces representing more than 50 per cent of Canadians have come on board, the movement will turn to its ultimate goal of getting the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms amended to recognize peoples’ rights to a healthy environment.

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