- Green Space: BurlingtonGreen's Advocacy Team submitted a letter to City Council & Staff on the need to include robust green space preservation policies in the City's new Official Plan currently being drafted. The need to preserve and expand green space within Burlington's intended intensification areas must be addressed through innovative planning strategies and policy changes. The Official Plan must serve to help Burlington realize its 25-year Strategic Plan goal of a "Healthy and Greener City", with quick access to parks and green space for all residents. Letter here.
- Bottled water: Just a reminder that the deadline for public comment on Ontario's proposal for increased fees for water bottlers taking from ground sources is March 20th. (More on EBR site here)
- Tree / quarry petition: The Tyandaga Environmental Coalition (TEC) has launched an online petition to protect about 40 acres of prime Burlington forest from being clear-cut to expand a nearby by shale quarry in an area between King Rd. and a neighbourhood of Tyandaga (More here)
- Jefferson Salamander road closure: The City of Burlington and Conservation Halton are once again acting to protect biodiversity by closing King Road from the base of the Niagara Escarpment to Mountain Brow Road from March 9 to 30 to provide the endangered Jefferson salamander safe passage during its annual breeding migration. (City news release here)
- Public transit: Bfast will hold its 3rd annual Transit Users' Forum at Central Library on Saturday, April 1st. "Help shape the future of transit in Burlington." All are welcome. (More here). Also, the Government of Ontario just announced increased support for transit in Burlington through enhanced gas tax funding, beginning 2019 (news release here). It is stated that there will be no increase in the tax that people in Ontario pay on gasoline as a result of the enhancement to the program.
- Community Energy Plan (CEP): Burlington Council and Staff are currently reviewing options for Phase 2 of the CEP, to implement a District Energy System that could possibly heat / cool / power a group of buildings in the city, to realize efficiencies and reduce their carbon footprint. This is part of the City's Strategic Plan to become carbon-neutral by 2040. (Consultant's full technical report here, pp. 124-158)
- Emerald Ash Borer (EAB): The City has updated its EAB plan for protecting Burlington's trees and dealing with dying ones. The outlook is not good. Despite City efforts to slow the EAB spread in recent years, "Ash tree mortality in Burlington is now rapidly accelerating, due to high levels of EAB infestation, combined with the impact of the severe 2016 drought. 3,296 trees are recommended to be removed in 2017." (Full report from City staff here, pp. 159 -168). This is another reason why we need to work hard to protect the healthy trees we have and continue planting more. (Trees in Trouble is a good documentary to watch on EAB; it often airs on PBS stations close to Earth Day in April.
- Flood study award: On Feb. 27th, The Ontario Public Works Association presented a "Project of the Year – Environmental Award" to City staff and Amec Foster Wheeler consultants for the Citywide Flood Vulnerability, Prioritization and Mitigation Study following Burlington's August 4, 2014 flood.
- Milton CN Logistics Hub: Read an update on the environmental review process in Inside Halton.
- Electric Vehicles: Tesla has opened a new store in Oakville (Wyecroft Rd.) for EV sales & service.
- Zero Waste: Exciting news in the area of waste reduction and recycling. On March 1st, Ontario released its much anticipated Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy. This is a fundamental shift in the way we think about waste in Ontario.
"This piece of legislation will tackle the problem of waste generation by increasing resource recovery and moving toward a circular economy. At the heart of the legislation is the idea that producers should be responsible for the end-of-life management of their products and packaging.
"The legislation is accompanied by this strategy, which lays out Ontario’s vision for a circular economy and goals of a zero-waste Ontario with zero greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector.
"In order to fundamentally change the way we think about waste in Ontario, this strategy outlines the formative actions we will take in the coming years that will help us achieve our goals. It recognises the tremendous environmental and economic opportunities that exist in shifting our mindset and embracing a circular economy — a system in which products are never discarded, but reused, recycled and reintroduced into new products." – Government of Ontario website (Read a thorough overview of the Strategy at the link above.)
Ontario Targets: 30% overall waste diversion from landfill by 2020, 50% diversion by 2030, 80% diversion by 2050. To put that in perspective, Ontario's current overall diversion rate is around 25%, which includes residential and ICI waste (industrial, commericial, institutional). Residential diversion has been decent due to blue bin and green bin programs. ICI needs much improvement. Residential diversion in Halton Region is currently around 60% – good, but we can still do better.