Green Toolbox for Growing Sustainable Municipalities--July 2014
The Green ToolBox - For Growing Sustainable Municipalities
From UNSM’s Municipal Sustainability Office
Events & Announcements
Sustainable Rainwater Management: Solutions & Tools for Adapting to a Changing Climate
Date: Monday, November 3
Location: Westin Nova Scotia Hotel, 1181 Hollis Street, Halifax
This pan-Canadian workshop series is designed for local practitioners and decision-makers in the Atlantic region to learn about collaborative, affordable, and effective tools for climate adaptation and watershed health. This workshop is intended to help municipalities reduce the physical, financial and social impacts of extreme weather events.
Workshop content will have practical application for municipal engineers, planners and eve landowners. Several web-based tools will be demonstrated, including the Water Balance Model, a scenario comparison tool that allows users to quantify the impacts of water use and climate change on available water supplies. The workshop will also include demonstrations of two other web-based tools: the Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool; and the Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Calculator. These tools can be used across levels (watershed, development, property) and various user groups (engineering, planning, land-owner).
For more information about this workshop, please contact Jocelyne Rankin, Water Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, at (902) 442-5046 or. Also, you can visit the workshop website at: www.ecologyaction.ca/sustainable-rainwater-management
Mayors’ Megawatt Challenge Sustainability Forum
Date: November 12, 2014
Location: Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto
You are invited to attend the 3rd annual national Mayors’ Megawatt Challenge Forum this fall, which will bring together municipal facility directors and energy managers from across Canada to focus on saving energy through operational and retrofit projects at municipal facilities. This year’s Forum will focus on high performance town halls and community centres. Expert panels and case studies will help municipalities understand what is possible and will provide them with technical resources to achieve their goals.
For more information about the Mayors’ Megawatt Challenge Forum, visit: http://trca.on.ca/the-living-city/programs-of-the-living-city/mayors-megawatt-challenge/index.dot#sthash.ekLsYpcN.dpuf or contact Brian Dundas at or (416) 661-6600, ext. 5262.
Announcements & Information
Active Transportation Article Series: Article # 3
Courtesy of UNSM’s Active Transportation Committee
Small Investments Reap Big Rewards
By Renee Hartlieb
Trying to make a community more active transportation (AT)-friendly can seem like a daunting task that requires a lot of effort and a lot of cash. But as some Nova Scotian municipalities have discovered, there are easy and inexpensive ways to encourage more active transportation among residents.
Take St. Peter’s in Cape Breton as an example. When your main street is also a provincial highway, AT can be a challenge. The Richmond Regional Development Authority wanted to make it more walkable and accessible, and set out to renew the village’s downtown core.
Commercial buildings were enhanced to appeal to shoppers on foot, and tiny parks, called “parkettes,” were created that offer a comfortable place to relax, socialize, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. A complete community signage plan was also instituted that linked downtown with a nearby marina, provincial park, and a trailway system around the canal. These small changes have boosted local business by upwards of fifteen percent.
Statistics bear this out. It has been proven that tourists will spend 80% of their money in pedestrian-friendly areas, while residents will make 45% of their daily trips by bike or on foot if they feel safe and comfortable. If walkable communities enhance both individual health and the local economy, it makes sense that more communities than ever are jumping on the AT bandwagon.
Active Pictou County Coordinator, Rae Gunn, is a big fan of walking as both a purely recreational activity and a healthy mode of transportation.“Having communities designed so they are conducive to walking has so many positive impacts—a healthier environment, healthier citizens, reduced health care costs, less traffic congestion, and generally improved quality of life.”
Active Pictou County, with the help of community partners, has created a public campaign devoted to the promotion of walking as a simple way to increase physical activity rates. Pictou County Walk Fest is heading into its fifth year. This annual event takes place in the fall, perfectly timed to coincide with the season of culinary gluttony—Thanksgiving. Walk Fest’s clever tagline is “Walk Your Feast Off!” and includes a week’s worth of activities that celebrate this body-friendly mode of transportation.
Pictou and St. Peter’s aren’t the only ones who have figured out that making communities more AT-friendly has myriad benefits. In fact, 2013 was a banner year for municipalities wanting to make small, but important, changes to their downtown cores. Thanks to some funding through the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency’s (NSTA) First Impressions program, eight communities and two regions added some easy infrastructure.
Lunenburg put in benches and bike racks, plus a series of maps and panels directing visitors to businesses and featuring historic aspects of UNESCO-designated Old Town. Wolfville added bike racks and developed a wayfinding plan. Antigonish built pedestrian information kiosks. And Berwick added benches and new bike racks.
All of these communities are discovering that small and inexpensive enhancements like sidewalk cafés, attractive signage, outdoor seating, and planters or vegetable stands can have a huge impact in making areas more vibrant, welcoming, and attractive places to walk, bike and linger.
The Department of Energy Releases Technical Studies for the Electricity System Review
Municipalities are encouraged to visit the Electricity System Review webpage to view two technical studies which will help inform public discussions in the fall. The Department of Energy welcomes feedback on the studies and invites interested municipalities to submit their thoughts and evidence to for consideration.
A third study on governance will be available in the coming months.
Environmental Damages Fund Accepting Applications Until Sept. 19
The next deadline to submit a proposal for the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) is September 19, 2014. Funding is available for projects which address EDF’s priority issues of restoration, environmental quality improvement, and education & awareness. Check out the EDF website http://www.ec.gc.ca/edf-fde/ for information on eligibility and how to apply for funding. Program officers are available to provide advice on completing the proposal form and to discuss draft proposals.