QUEEN’S PARK – Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka rose in the Legislature to make the following statement about the opening of the Near North Enviro-Education Centre and commend Jocelyn Palm for her vision and work.
Mr. Norm Miller: I rise in the House today to celebrate the opening of the Near North Enviro-Education Centre in Sundridge. The centre’s opening marks the actualization of president and founder Jocelyn Palm’s vision to create a space committed to the development of leaders and practices that will foster environmental and economic sustainability. The centre’s mission is to help empower rural communities to become models for sustainable living by providing education, information and hands-on learning opportunities focused on environmental sustainability, rural economic sustainability and social diversity.
During my visit to the centre, I was struck by Jocelyn’s desire to leave a positive and powerful legacy for future generations. We often think that development must come at a cost to the environment. I suggest that maintaining healthy ecosystems is critical to development.
Within my riding, the tourism industry is paramount. As we develop it, protecting our watersheds is critical. If we prioritize economic gains over protecting clean water and in doing so pollute our lakes and rivers, we would see a collapse of tourism in the area. There’s a balance we must strive for, and I, for one, am grateful that innovative leaders such as Jocelyn Palm are attempting to drive the narrative that environmental sustainability and economic development are not at odds with one another, but go hand in hand.
I commend her strength and commitment to creating the centre and hope that it is the catalyst for change that she envisions.