Shaping the Future of our Communities Agenda


Friday, October 12, 2012

1:00 pm    Registration
2:00 pmWelcome Plenary
2:15 pmWorkshops
3:30 pm Break
3:45 pmWorkshops
5:00 pmFriday workshops end
6:00 pmColumbia Institute Reception
7:00 pmDinner with Joel Bakan

Saturday, October 13, 2012

7:30 am    Breakfast
8:30 amPlenary
9:15 amWorkshops
10:30 amBreak
10:45 amWorkshops
1:00 pmWorkshops
2:15 pmBreak
2:30 pmPlenary
3:30 pmAdjournment

Ontario proposes new path for financing energy, water conservation

Homeowners in Ontario could soon finance efficiency retrofits and solar panel installations through an additional charge on their property taxes, but only if the province makes good on regulatory changes it proposed last month.  Toronto councillor Mike Layton said proposed changes to provincial legislation would allow municipalities to enter into agreements with individual property owners wishing to invest in changes to their home that would reduce energy or water consumption.   Read more at The Star.

See the Columbia Institute publication This Green House for more information about municipal retrofit financing.

New Surrey Gas Stations to Include Alternative Fuels

Surrey City Council is moving forward on a new by-law which would require all new gas stations to include alternative fuel sources such as a level-three electric vehicle charging station, compressed natural gas, hydrogen or propane. “We want to promote and advance clean technology by building the necessary infrastructure to support alternative fuel vehicles,” says Mayor Dianne Watts.  Read more at the Municipal Information Network.

Crime wave changes as grey tsunami washes over Vancouver Island

As the so-called grey tsunami gains momentum across the country, a different kind of crime wave is washing over some Vancouver Island communities, including Parksville, Sidney and North Saanich, with violent acts dropping and incidents involving seniors on the rise.  Door-to-door hustlers, online scams targeting seniors, scooter collisions and other vehicle mishaps, find police having to adapt to the growing concerns of the area’s aging population.   Read more at The Globe and Mail.

Okanagan takes bite out of plan for genetically modified apple

On June 7, 2012, Allan Patton convinced his colleagues on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to adopt a motion to register its disapproval of the Arctic Apple, a genetically modified apple that carries the risk of cross-pollination of traditional varieties and puts the entire Okanagan fruit industry in jeopardyThe RDOS board unanimously approved a motion that calls for it to investigate a GMO-free zone for the area and request that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reject the Arctic Apple application.  Read more at Penticton Western News.

14-storey building to be made from wood

A Norwegian housing cooperative says it plans to build the world’s largest wooden apartment building, a 14-storey structure in Bergen.  The project seeks to promote sustainable materials while at the same time boosting Norway’s vast forestry industry.  British Columbia recently changed the rules to allow six storey wood-frame buildings, up from four, and there has been debate about going even higher.  Read more at the Vancouver Sun.

Vancouver Technical school’s market garden to be a Canadian first

Under a new agreement between the Vancouver School Board and Fresh Roots Urban Farms, a non-profit society that promotes urban agriculture, Vancouver Technical School will be creating a 1,000 square meter garden on the school’s property in September.  The Van Tech garden  is expected to not only provide a valuable learning opportunity for students, but yield thousands of kilograms of vegetables.  The sale of those vegetables is expected to cover all costs.  The deal was described as the first of its kind in Canada.  Read more at the Vancouver Sun. 

Turning Rubble into Roads

The City of Edmonton Aggregate Recycling Programs recycles concrete, asphalt and other similar materials from reconstruction projects, private demolition and household renovations free of charge. The program provides an economical source of recycled material Edmonton then uses to construct and maintain streets and sidewalks, saving the city more than $15 million.  Read more at the Municipal Information Network.

Autism advocate raises concerns over inclusive education

The New Brunswick government will invest $62 million over the next three years to improve inclusive education.  Autism advocate and Fredericton lawyer Harold Doherty is questioning the education department’s plans around autism by pointing out that some children with autism cannot function properly in a mainstream classrooms.  “It’s a philosophy, it’s not an evidence based approach to educating children with disabilities,” Doherty said.  Read more at the CBC.

Push continues for a living wage in Hamilton

Jim Stanford, well-known CAW economist and media commentator was the key note speaker at the Centre for Civic Governance’s Sharing of Good Ideas forum held in Hamilton recently. He spoke on The Living Wage.

His presentation was followed by a panel that included Sam Magavern, a volunteer attorney for the City of Buffalo Living Wage Commission; Hamilton Wentworth school board Trustee Robert Barlow and Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction Director Tom Cooper.

The City of Hamilton is exploring the idea of implementing a Living Wage for the Southern Ontario community.

CBC Hamilton interviewed Mr. Stanford following his presentation and subsequently did a feature piece on the issue of a Living Wage.  To read more and listen to the interview, please visit the CBC.

A Day in the Life of Our Taxes

Public health care, garbage pick up, safe food, clean water, public parks, emergency services, higher learning, the chance to live in great communities with the hope of reaching our personal dreams. It’s time to start having the conversation about what our taxes contribute to a healthy society.  See the video from the CCPA