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Environmental Update, April 2017

Category: News
on 25 March 2017
  • Draft new Official Plan: Burlington's draft new Official Plan (OP) has now been released for public review. Read an overview here (25-page PDF). View the complete draft OP here (530-page PDF). The City aims to have the finished OP in place in fall 2017, after reviewing and considering public feedback and doing more work on the Mobility Hub components. The City is currently asking for feedback online. You can take the survey about how Burlington will grow over the next 20 years. There will also be a public meeting on the downtown mobility hub component of the OP, April 20.

    Green space poster imageWhile OPs are required to be reviewed every 5 years, this is a particularly important one for Burlington, as it will lay out land use policy and specifics on how intensification growth will take place in our city, while aligning with Burlington's overall 25-year Strategic Plan vision. As Burlington is at a pivotal time in its development and growth, the City decided that a re-write of the plan was needed, rather than a basic review and update.

    BurlingtonGreen has advocated for stronger protection of greenspace and parklands in the new OP. In case you missed it last month, you can read our March 2017 letter to the City here.

    (An Official Plan is a document required by the provincial government for all municipalities, which outlines council's policies on how land in a community should be used, to ensure that future planning and development will meet the specific needs of a community. Learn more about Official Plans in Ontario here, and Burlington's Official Plan here.)


  • Transit poster imagePublic transit funding:  As part of the 2017 budget, the federal government announced $20.1 billion for transit improvement projects in Canada over the next 11 years, including Burlington and Hamilton. Sixteen projects are planned for Burlington. This investment is part of an agreement between Canada and Ontario for the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, and complements Ontario's announcement of enhanced transit funding last month. View the recent news release here, along with a list of the 16 projects. Also revealed in the budget was that the federal tax credit for transit passes, previously allowed on your income tax return, will be discontinued as of July 1, 2017.
     
     
  • Federal Budget: Read BurlingtonGreen's general comments on the budget (and those of other ENGOs) in the Burlington Post. We are pleased by the investment in clean energy and transit, but found it didn’t go far enough to protect nature. (Also read DSF's statement here).

eco nomy“At BurlingtonGreen, we believe the time to stop thinking of the economy and the environment as two separate and competing priorities is now,” said executive director Amy Schnurr.

“We need a more innovative and integrative paradigm: an economic strategy that puts a healthy environment at the centre of things, so that all Canadians can enjoy a new kind of prosperity – one that links economic, social and environmental standards into a standard of living worthy of passing along to future generations, in a nation that views its natural environment as a treasure to be guarded, and not simply a resource to be tapped.” (Burlington Post, March 23, 2017)
 

  • Federal 150 Infrastructure Funding:  The City of Burlington is receiving funding for 14 projects under the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program. Of particular note is item #6 for building a dune crossing at Beachway Park. Those familiar with BurlingtonGreen's 6 dune restoration projects at Beachway know the importance keeping foot traffic off the dunes where possible. The construction of a crossing is good news for the protection of our locally unique dune habitat at Beachway.


  • Tuck Cr. erosion contol:  The City will hold a meeting April 11th to inform the public of construction plans to fix erosion problems on a section of Tuck Creek between Upper Middle Rd. and Palmer Dr.  Details here.
     
     
  • Great Lakes Protection, U.S. / Canada: Read a letter to the Hamilton Spectator by BurlingtonGreen advocacy team volunteer, Jane Jenner, regarding the dangers of possible cuts to U.S. federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $300 million to $10 million.
      

  • recycle leafEvent Greening Awards: Congratulations to both the Sound of Music Festival and Burlington's Ribfest for winning FEO's "Best Greening of a Festival" award for Ontario, for their recycling efforts at their respective events last year. SOM article here.

    Several years ago, BurlingtonGreen members led the green teams for both of these events, and we are very pleased that since that time, both have developed and grown their own self-sustaining eco-teams, serving as succesful examples for all large festivals in Ontario to follow – another reason to be #BurlingtonProud!


  • Green cart composting: Ever wonder where your green cart material goes? Check out this new video from the state-of-the-art composting facility for Hamilton/Halton.

     
  • kale blackBurlington's Best Awards:  This year's nominations have been announced, with one nomination in the Environmental Category – our very own Kale Black!  We don't want to be too presumptious here, but we think he's got a good shot at winning it. Congratulations, Kale – well-deserved, and as always we're very proud to have you as part of the BG team.


  • Burlington Chamber of Commerce Awards:  The 2016 award winners were announced April 6th at a gala event. Congratulations to IKEA Burlington for winning the Mayor’s City of Burlington Sustainable Green Business Award.  Also, congratulations to Food for Life Halton for winning for organizational excellence in the Not-for-profit category. (Note: BurlingtonGreen partners with Food for Life to distribute the fresh produce grown in our Grow to Give Garden each year for local food banks.)  (Awards article in Burlington Post)


  • Attn vegetarians:  Did you know there's a vegetarian meetup group in Hamilton-Burlington? You can learn more and contact them here if interested.


  • Local Food: In the spirit of growing food locally, reducing lawn maintenance, and connecting with other like-minded people in the community, a local chapter of the "Grow Food Not Lawns" movement has started in Burlington. You can join their Facebook group to learn more. Also, learn more about the greater movement here.

     
  • garden plots smlCommunity Gardens: The City of Burlington has received a $20,000 grant from Toronto-Dominion Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) to enhance the construction of a new community garden in Ireland Park. Construction of the new garden will begin this fall and will open in spring 2018.  News release here.
     
  • Upcoming public marches:
    • March for Science -- Events taking place on Earth Day, April 22nd, internationally. Local marches being organized for Hamilton and Toronto.

    • People's Climate March -- A march is being organized for April 29th in Toronto, in support of the main march in Washington, D.C. on the same day. Watch their Facebook event page for more details to come about the Toronto event. The last big climate march in Toronto took place July 5, 2015, with an estimated 10,000 participants, including a few BurlingtonGreen members.

       
  • bottled.waterDrink Tap Water: Need a reusable water bottle to fill up at the fountain? You can now buy reusable water bottles from vending machines in City of Burlington facilities. Great idea, Burlington!  Also, remember to look for Blue W designated public refill areas in our city, or even become a Blue W facility to offer water refills to the public.
     
     
  • Carpooling: The carpool lot northwest of QEW & Guelph Line will soon be expanded to include an additional 95 parking spots; work beginning spring 2017. 

     
  • Electric vehicles: A new Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre will be opening in Toronto, April 20, on Finch Ave. in North York, to help potential EV buyers learn about and view / test vehicles they may be interested in. The Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre is the first facility of its kind in the world focused entirely on providing an experiential learning environment for electric vehicles. (Note: you can also view BurlingtonGreen's EV information page here.)
     
     
  • Seafood testing (citizen science): SeaChoice is recruiting 300 volunteers across Canada to conduct DNA testing of seafood sold in grocery stores or by fishmongers. They want to see if the labels on supermarket fish accurately describe what you’re buying. If you qualify to participate, a DNA test kit will be mailed to you. Learn more here

    Also, view a recent report card giving Canada's seafood labelling system an F grade. "Canada requires the least amount of information on its seafood labels when compared to the European Union and the United States, according to a new watchdog group report," (article here).

     
  • Planting trees: Green Leaf Challenge to Help Fight Climate Change. Ontario is partnering with families, community organizations and businesses across the province to reach its goal of planting six million trees this year to promote cleaner air and help fight climate change. Ontario plants approximately three million trees under its 50 Million Tree Program, and the government is now challenging the public to match its target in 2017.  View news release here.