Current Environmental Status
As a member of Burlington City Council over the past 3+ years, I have had an opportunity to take part in many decisions that will have a positive impact on the environment in the City of Burlington.
Council’s Strategic Plan contains the following action list with respect to the environment.
Under Strategic Direction #1 – Vibrant Neighbourhoods, actions include:
- Implement tree management plan to enhance the urban forest
- Develop a common vision and coordinated plan to decrease reliance on vehicles
- Update the Transit Master Plan
- Promote walking and cycling – friendly neighbourhoods to ensure community safety and accessibility
- Reinforce the City’s strong position in protecting the existing urban rural boundary
- Continue to oppose a new highway that would cross the Niagara Escarpment
Under Strategic Direction #2 – “Prosperity”:
- Use partnerships to develop and implement a community energy plan
- Expand renewable energy initiatives
- Strengthen the partnership with Burlington Hydro Grid Smart City initiative
- Develop a revised vision for Economic Development that will bring more “green” jobs to Burlington
Under Strategic Direction #3 – Experience in Government:
- Prepare Corporate energy reduction targets
- Implement a plan to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions
- Implement a green procurement policy
All of these actions forming part of the Strategic Plan entitled “Burlington Our Future” add to an already aggressive City of Burlington approach to the environment. Burlington has had a strong effort from staff and Council in working on environmental issues in the following five general categories – Energy, Transportation, Air & Climate, Natural Environment, Waste. The City is active not only in the area of how they operate City services, but also encouraging all residents of our community to become involved in environmental issues in their homes and businesses.
Burlington is among the first municipalities in Ontario to complete a community energy plan. The community energy plan suggest “as Burlington approaches build-out of its urban boundaries, the City can anticipate slower municipal assessment growth. Burlington needs to examine ways to reduce its cost of services over the rate base, while continuing to maintain and enhance the very high quality of life and prosperity we enjoy in our community. How energy is used and the cost of that energy to Burlington residents, as well as to the City of Burlington is an important factor.”
As a member of Council, I am encouraging Burlington Hydro to assist the City in energy considerations for us in the future which could include solar and wind energy alternatives.
As a member of Council, I have been involved in the review of the Official Plan that features “mobility hub opportunities” in conjunction with Burlington’s Cycling Master Plan and Burlington’s improved transit services, we are taking action on environmental issues.
Air & Climate:
City initiatives in air quality undertaken by this Council and staff include a community wide idling control bylaw and a corporate green fleet strategy for all of our vehicles. Corporately, Burlington has approved a corporate sustainable building policy requiring a silver LEED rating for new corporate facilities in major retrofits.
Burlington has been a leader in the protection of natural environment through its many policies with respect to new development, particularly in the area of storm water management. As a member of Council, I was delighted to be able to confirm the strongly held urban rural boundary at its current location ensuring that Burlington will remain a mixture of urban and rural lands.
Burlington is proud of its recycling efforts, both in our public locations such as parks and open space as well as in our many facilities and buildings. As a member of Council, I also sit on the Halton Region Council and continue to encourage recycling for the home owners on a regional scale to the greatest extent possible. Halton Region continues to provide indoor water efficiency tips for its residents as well as outdoor water efficiency tips. I supported Burlington’s adoption of a green procurement strategy working towards a zero waste strategy for our municipality.
To my residents, I would encourage you to have a look at our City of Burlington web site. There is a specific environment page that leads you to a host of useful information with respect to the environment. You can read the many versions of a new document that Burlington issues entitled “Take Action Burlington” environment update. All of this can be found on the City of Burlington web site.
The City of Burlington are also very fortunate to have the “Burlington Sustainable Development Committee”. This is a Committee made up of citizens whose mandate is:
a) To provide advice to the Community Development Committee and Council on issues of sustainable development, having regard for environmental, economic and social cost and benefits in the development and use of resources, products and services.
b) To promote understanding of sustainable development as it relates to the City of Burlington and its activities.
As with many of our Advisory Committees, any vacancies will be advertised for members of the public and should you be interested in this environmental advisory group, I would be happy to help you put your name forward at the appropriate time.
While this document has shown that the City of Burlington are doing a lot with respect to the environment, there is still much work to be done. One area that I will be looking in to, will be the area where “gaps in government” might occur. The past issues associated with Burlington Air Park were frustrating to residents in my Ward, since neither the City nor the Region felt they had legitimate responsibility or control over the activities at that location.