ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP

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BY HARNOOR GILL
Grade 10 student 
Christ The King Catholic Secondary
Georgetown, Ontario

PUBLIC transit is a way of life in the most fast-paced cities in the world, ranging from basic to amazing. Just take a gander at New York or Tokyo that have the busiest commuters on board who are also the most satisfied. Imagine the possibilities that can be potentially achieved from the simple act of voicing concerns about a situation that affects someone as a resident of the local community.
More than 28% of greenhouse gas emissions alone have come from Canada’s transportation industry that Environment Canada stated with sadness recently. This is because the constant use of a car is worse than subways, streetcars, buses and carpooling. Often these services use better fuel alternatives such as biodiesel which wouldn’t impact our ozone layer as much as it gets impacted otherwise. There are various solutions which will be thoroughly investigated such as incorporating public transit, effective communication to the local residents, informing the municipal government about the situation formally, and being positive about the decision in the end.
The key to public transit is to show the beneficial factors that can be taken into consideration. As an alternative to driving a car, SUV, pick-up truck or motorcycle, help the future sustainability of the environment instead. This can be easily accomplished by doing any of the following (if possible): walk, bike, scooter, jog, run, skateboard, roller blade, use a bus, subway or streetcar, carpool and carsharing. Making a few simple changes to your everyday lifestyle can indeed make a difference in your carbon footprint to the world itself. WWF Canada has increasingly raised awareness about investing in electric vehicles or hybrids as they are automobiles that will drastically help lower that 28% gas emissions to less than 20%, too. Encouraging friends, family, peers and others will assist the situation as their friends will let other friends know about the increasing difficulty that is experienced by commuters every day on congested roads.
At a local level, public transit will soon be needed with the opening of a Toronto Premium Outlet Mall and the ongoing increase in the population growth rate each year. In a town like Halton Hills with a scattered population and recreation / services that are available at a fair distance, public transit is a must! People who will probably be using these services every day will be youth, seniors, people who can’t drive and people who are willing not to drive. These are just some of the reasons why public transit needs to be incorporated in a town like Halton Hills that happens to border populated cities such as Brampton or Milton (fastest growing city in Canada).
Heavily congested roads such as 5th Side Road, Trafalgar Road or Ninth Line are just some streets in the downtown core that are crucial to encourage the public to be aware of the problem. A great way to start is to know about the community events that might be coming up to promote the cause formally in an effective manner. For example, the fall fair that happens in the Georgetown Fairgrounds on the first Saturday after the Labour Day weekend is a great way to start. At a local event, a booth with information regarding the situation can be set up in a fun manner with games, brochures, flyers and great volunteers!
The next hurdle to cross is the municipal government. By gathering a few well-versed individuals who are quite familiar with the ideas and concerns of the problem is a great way to start. I believe that before presenting to the local municipality about the congested road use, a Q&A situation would be most beneficial at this point where residents can ask the committee in charge of the situation and view the concerns of the municipality as well. Sometimes the standard Q&A session can last up to two to eight hours or more. It essentially depends on whether the residents are interested and the municipal government is concerned with the outcome at the same time. Don’t always be discouraged at the low turnout because you never know when someone can realize the endless benefits of this type of solution will bring to the community’s economy.
The key to success is being positive, receptive and confident about yourself because the little grain of salt that you put in is enough to make a slight change in a government’s situation at any time. So, this is how I believe that Halton Hills can solve its congested roads situation in an effective manner by incorporating public transit for their everyday commuters.