On September 26th, Greenspace Alliance issued our list of endorsed candidates for the October 24, 2022 election. We had pushback from some GA members who asked why Josh Morgan is not on the list.
(Josh is currently London Ontario’s city council representative for ward 7 and London’s Deputy Mayor. He is campaigning to be mayor of London, Ontario.)
We did not endorse Josh because we did not know his position on tree canopy and greenspace issues. As with all candidates, we sent him an email with an invitation to talk. We had not received a reply before announcing our list.
Josh subsequently contacted us. He said he had not seen the email invitation from Greenspace Alliance. He said his staff had “filed it”. He wanted to meet and talk about the issues. So Josh and I met this morning at the Angelo’s on Wonderland.
Meeting With Josh Morgan
During our meeting, I told Josh about Greenspace Alliance’s agenda. I laid out the five commitments that a candidate had to make in order to get our endorsement. Those five commitments are:
Five Commitments Asked of Candidates
- To increase London’s tree canopy targets and decrease the timeline for meeting those targets
- To establish residential tree planting programs
- To establish mandatory minimum canopy requirements in new residential developments
- To keep the city’s greenspace property on River Road (instead of selling of it) and to solicit community input in regard to how to use that property
- To establish a greenspace council, committee or commission that will be tasked with protecting/preserving public greenspace and providing input for future greenspace use
Josh Morgan And Tree Canopy Goals
Josh came across as enlightened about environmental issues. He was enthusiastic about commitments #1 through #3. He had good ideas about how federal money can be used to strengthen London’s tree canopy. We agreed that London’s tree canopy goal must be increased, and that the time frame for increasing it must be reduced. Long story short, tree planting must speed up. So it felt as though we were aligned in regard to tree canopy goals. I also liked his ideas about creating accessible greenspace for various activities.
Morgan Amenable To Keeping River Road
We then discussed River Road. Josh, at one time, seemed to favor disposing of the property, which the city ran as a golf course. I suggested that a feasibility study – in regard to keeping the property and exploring its possible uses – should be done before selling it. Josh said he could get on board with that.
We then discussed the types of groups who might be interested in giving input to help determine the best use(s) for the property. Josh seemed genuinely interested and had some ideas.
My overall impression was that Josh Morgan is agreeable to retaining the River Road property. He is also open to getting input from community groups in order to identify the best greenspace use(s) for it.
Morgan Aligned With Most GA Goals
Josh Morgan seems aligned with #1 through #3 of Greenspace Alliance’s commitments. He is agreeable to attempting #4, which is to find a way to keep the River Road property while identifying the best use(s) for it. In regard to #5, he balked at the word “commission”, but many of the candidates have. I feel he is on the same page as Greenspace Alliance members and told him so.
Regardless of the alignment of our goals for London’s greenspace and tree canopy, I said that Greenspace Alliance could not formally endorse his candidacy. If we endorse his candidacy it would discount the endorsement we gave to Khalil Ramal, and Khalil really deserves our endorsement.
Khalil didn’t just say that he was in favor of increasing tree canopy and greenspace. He followed up, to make his commitments clear. He told me that he would incorporate Greenspace Alliance ideas and issues into his campaign, and he did, on his campaign website.
Josh said he understood my reasoning. He inquired if I would informally portray him as supporter of Greenspace Alliance – and vice versa – If I had the opportunity. I said I would.
Summary of Morgan Meeting
I think that Josh Morgan has a grasp of the environmental emergency at hand. He seems genuinely to believe we must expand London’s tree canopy and greenspace. I believe he will agree to a feasibility study for keeping River Road. If he is elected mayor, I do not think he would push to dispose of any public greenspace.