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LETTER: Midland 'greenwashing' Bee City nod with paint over action

'The decision to go with a mural over real action to create and restore pollinator habitat is disappointing,' Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists vice president says
2021-12-22 Bee City Mural 2 (1)
This mural has been installed in Little Lake Park to recognize the town's status as a Bee City.

MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at andrew@midlandtoday.ca. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter concerns a story published June 22 detailing the recent installation in Little Lake Park of a new mural celebrating the town's status as a Bee City.

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Dear Editor,

Over a year ago I was asked to comment on Midland's Bee City designation in a story entitled Midland's pollinator plan a good start, but naturalists say long-term action essential.

At the time, I spoke favourably about the the town's involvement.

The decision to go with a mural over real action to create and restore pollinator habitat is disappointing. I'm confident that pollinators won't benefit from a painting and Midland's involvement is beginning to look like greenwashing.

As another commenter at the time noted: “It looks to me like the town is mostly trumpeting their resolve to not do something in order to help pollinators, saving money at the same time by not mowing certain areas.”

Sadly that's beginning to look like the reality of the matter. Midland has granted itself licence to stop mowing certain spaces in the name of protecting pollinators, but is holding property owners to a different standard.

At a time when Midland is promoting itself as bee friendly, to hold homeowners to an archaic bylaw is very clearly contradictory and ill considered. The municipality really should be rewarding property owners for doing their work for them. Instead we see residents who are trying to create pollinator habitat being threatened with legal action.

I'm inclined to give the town the benefit of the doubt.

Perhaps, the bylaw people simply didn't get the memo. Perhaps, council just hasn't gotten around to updating their bylaws.

But their actions elsewhere suggest otherwise.

The mural is lovely and promoting awareness is important. The money wasted on this self-promotion would have been better used to actually do something for pollinators. Perhaps, they could have used native perennials instead of non-native annuals in their bee-themed garden on Highway 93.

There are better ways to make people aware than by punishing them for following council's lead in attempting to recreate habitat for pollinators.

This Bee City may want to consider celebrating these efforts rather than bludgeoning those who dare to step away from the standardized, green lawn ideals of the past.

Robert Codd 

Vice President 

Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists

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