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President’s Message: A message from Jane Welsh, OALA President

Patterns can give meaning and reassurance to our lives. But when they are disrupted, it can be an opportunity to question if they truly reflect our values about the way we live and work.

Strong new voices of landscape architects have emerged through the disruptions of the past year—the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, and the climate strike. They raise important questions and challenge past patterns, making us stronger as an association and profession.

I am excited and hopeful for the future of our profession as we continue to raise awareness of the importance and value of the work we do.

Landscape Architecture and the Power of Change
Many members have raised their collective voices to challenge us, provincially and nationally, to more fully address diversity and inclusion. We are committed to ensuring that the important dialogue the BLM movement raised results in meaningful, proactive action.

The pandemic has illuminated a critical need for healthy outdoor space, and we can use our power as designers to promote health and recovery.

Advocacy and new thinking about tackling climate change continues to be advanced through the efforts of our members and allied professionals in the Design Climate Action initiative.

Increasing Awareness of Landscape Architecture
It is more important than ever to use our collective voices to raise the profile of landscape architecture and the value of the work we do.

Since June, we have met with six MPPs to build support for why Ontario needs a Practice Act for landscape architecture.

We met with Hon Jeff Yurek (Elgin-Middlesex-London), PC Amarjot Sandhu (Brampton West), Gurratan Singh (NDP, Brampton East), Bhutila Karpoche (NDP, Parkdale-High Park), Chris Glover (NDP, Spadina-Fort York), and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner (Guelph).

We also sent a letter to Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney and Premier Doug Ford on the province’s plan to introduce Billboards on the 400 series highways and Metrolinx rail lands.

As we navigate the global crisis, we continue to work with our dedicated volunteers and allied professionals to adapt to the new normal. As always, OALA Council and staff are here to support you.

Jane Welsh, OALA, FCSLA
OALA President
[email protected]