Canada’s first “near urban” national park sparks hot debate in GTA

The creation of a “near urban” national park in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has sparked a hot debate between the region’s Conservative and Liberal MPs. The park, which is intended to enhance the accessibility of wilderness to urban residents, may result in the loss of prime farmland. Both MPs accuse each other of “flip-flopping” on the issue and “misleading the public” about their intentions with the park. Read the full story in the Toronto Star. 

CCPA study on transportation and communities

Transportation Transformation lays out a 30 year plan for transportation in BC and shows how the movement of goods, services and people can transform the way we live, creating jobs and a better quality of life while greatly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of climate change. Read CCPA report here. 

Are municipalities are too focused on risk?

Mark Lakeman of Portland’s City Repair seems to think so. He explains that when examining a new project most city staff, consider liability first, rather than the merits of the project. Cities are more focused on risk aversion than innovation and it is holding back creativity and community building. Read more in the Tyee. 

Sustainable Communities Toolkit

The Canada Green Building Council has just published a Sustainable Communities Toolkit that focuses on the following areas:

  • Community Planning
  • Natural Environment
  • Transportation
  • Buildings
  • Infrastructure
  • Energy

The kit is free to all Municipal Government Employees

Click here to find out more.

Safe injection site proven to save lives

A study produced by B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and St. Paul’s Hospital and published by the medical journal The Lancet, has shown that Vancouver’s safe injection site, Insite, has contributed to a 35% reduction in overdose deaths in the area near the site, compared with a 9% drop elsewhere in the city. The study looked at fatal overdoses during the 2 year period after the site opened. Despite the incredible success of Insite the Harper Government is trying to shut the site down. Read story in the Globe and Mail. 

Click here to read the study.

CCPA study shows corporate tax breaks are not creating new jobs

According to a recent study by the CCPA, Canada’s corporate taxes have lead to a $50% increase in profits for corporations, but sadly, created very few new jobs. Corporate taxes in 2009 were 20% lower than in 2000 and have lead to an annual loss of $12 billion to Canada’s general revenue.

Read study here. 

Markham’s local food policy is making a difference

Ontario’s Local Food Champions report recognizes Markham Ontario as being the first municipality in Ontario to develop a local food policy. Highlights of the policy include:
• Cutting edge food service model bringing more Ontario food into a municipally run cafeteria
• In 2008 Markham committed to procuring no less than 10 per cent Local Food Plus (LFP) certified Ontario food in the municipal cafeteria, with a target of five per cent yearly increases
• By 2010 over 30 per cent of food procurement was LFP certified, Canada’s only local sustainable food certification
• Based on Markham’s success other municipalities, such as Halton Region, are implementing similar food procurement policies

Read more here.  

Magnetized monorail proposed for Kelowna

Kelowna resident Dave Straley has pitched the idea of a minimalistic magnetized monorail to city council, claiming it will help ease commuter congestion. The proposed monorail builds upon existing magnetic levitation technology already used in high-speed trains. City council has said it wants to see how prototype tests go in San Francisco in 2013 prior to making a decision. Read the full story in CBC News. 

U.S. programs show how home energy retrofits can boost the economy

In the US, government investment in energy efficiency and retrofitting programs has helped stimulate economic activity, create jobs in the green building sector, and reduce carbon emissions. Portland has been particularly successful with such programs, and non-profits, government agencies, and energy providers have partnered together to provide retrofit financing to homeowners. The Pembina Institute looks at the feasibility of such programs in Canada in this article in The Tyee. 

On-bill financing could help make energy retrofits more enticing for homeowners

As East Vancouverites Laura Lee Schultz and Jacqueline Gullion found out, most people don’t know how inefficient their home are, and know less about what to do about it. Mayor Gregor Robertson recently announced a pilot program that will allow homeowners to pay for energy retrofits through on-bill financing. Clean energy specialists say this approach will eliminate many of the challenges associated with home energy retrofitting, and look to the success of a similar program in Portland. Read the full story in The Tyee.