We here at the newspaper support the city having an ordinance which, either by requiring or encouraging, leads to a greener Vincennes.
A city hoping for more than a mere carrying on with the status quo must take such progressive steps if it hopes to compete for new investment and, much more importantly, see growth in its population, through either natural increase or in-migration.
With most of the changes to the existing city ordinance proposed by freshman council member Ryan Lough, we're in agreement.
We can't agree, though, with his dismissal of the importance of keeping invasive species out of municipal green spaces, or his opposition to planting native species.
Mr. Lough was a vocal opponent to the county's adopting an invasive-species ordinance, the first such local ban in the state, saying it would be bad for business.
He now seems determined to hinder similar efforts on the city level by removing wording in the current municipal code that either requires or recommends the planting of native species in green spaces.
His argument that such species aren't available for purchase locally doesn't qualify as a reason for pulling the noxious language out of the ordinance by the roots.
Our go-to authority on this matter is Oaktown farmer Ray Chattin, who is about as respected a conservationist as likely to be found on God's green earth — which would be a lot more green if Ray had his way.
In a letter-to-the-editor last month, Chattin pointed out how the Knox County Cooperative Invasive Management Area (of which he is a proud member) has collected seeds for 60 different native plant species that are “for sale to the public at very reasonable prices.”
“I think it would be constructive to consider that when we use the term 'community' we aren’t just referring to a group of people, but also to a place and all the living things with whom we share that place,” Chattin wrote. “People are only one strand of that fabric. The health, productivity and beauty of that fabric will be a function of how we respect and value it and all of its members, great and small.”
Sometimes (far more often than is really necessary), we fall victim to wanting to make regulations “more business friendly,” which generally in the long run ends up causing more injury than benefit to the community as a whole.
Enough of the changes proposed by Mr. Lough can make the ordinance more business friendly without needing to weed out the language encouraging the planting of native species or the banning of invasive species.