Monthly Archives: August 2011

Britain’s rivers once considered “polluted death” are now “teeming with life”

Britain’s Environment Agency credits the many habitat restoration programs and strict regulation of pollutants for the regeneration of rivers and the return of wildlife. Six rivers in particular made the list as most improved including the River Wandle, a tributary of the Thames. The Wandle was once considered a sewer, but is now considered one READ MORE

A building that will live off rainwater, generate electricity and compost sewage

The groundbreaking has begun on the world’s greenest building, Seattle’s Bullitt Centre. The building will generate its own electricity with solar power, including enough for winter months, live off its own rainwater and compost its own sewage to be sent off site as fertilizer. The building will cover over 10,000 square feet and will be READ MORE

Surrey’s Living Books program will lend local experts

Innovation in Surrey abounds! The soon to open City Centre Library will have an innovative  program that enlists local residents, who are experts in various capacities, to be available on loan for ½ hour to 45 minute conversations. The program is about sharing information and experience, and building community amongst Surrey’s diverse populations. Read more at Good READ MORE

Municipal Living Wage 101

A handful of Canadian municipalities have implemented living wage bylaws, and many more are on the verge of implementing the policy. Municipal living wage bylaws are legally enforceable policies ensuring that workers employed by a city and those contracted using municipal funds will be paid enough to meet basic family living expenses. Municipal living wage READ MORE

Transferring of gas tax to municipalties would improve transit and ease congestion

Currently municipalities receive 10 cents for every dollar collected in gas taxes, but the Globe and Mail suggests that many municipal woes – from traffic congestion to crumbling infrastructure, would be fixed if the full amount were transferred. At present, “traffic congestion in the Greater Toronto Area alone costs the economy $3.3-billion in lost productivity.” READ MORE

Is it bad for cities to be in debt? Not necessarily

With all the talk of government debt recently — Toronto, $4.7 billion; Ontario, $240 billion; the U.S., $14.6 trillion — the spectacular figures and the concept of debt itself have become so abstract many people don’t even understand the conversation. The Toronto Star recently spoke with Dr. Enid Slack, director of the University of Toronto’s Institute on Municipal Finance READ MORE

Norwood adds its name to growing list of municipalities calling for an exemption from CETA

Norwood Ontario has passed a resolution calling on the provinces and the federal government “to negotiate a clear, permanent exemption for local governments” from the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Like other municipalities, Norwood is concerned the CETA agreement will impact their ability to procure goods and services locally and that they would READ MORE

Emissions from Canada’s oil sands make greenhouse gas reduction targets impossible

When Canada ratified the Kyoto agreement in 2002, the country committed itself to lowering emissions to 1990 levels by 2012. That commitment was eroded by the Harper Conservatives in Copenhagen in 2009 where it altered the agreement and said it would only reduce emissions to 17% lower than 2005 levels. It seems that the less READ MORE

Ontario municipalities embrace local food

With support from the Greenbelt Foundation and the Province of Ontario municipalities and public institutions across Ontario are initiating local food policies to encourage local food being served in daycares, schools and hospitals. The Broader Public Sector Investment Fund: Promoting Ontario Food provides funding for connecting local food to communities. Read more at Broader Public Sector Investment READ MORE

Calgary invests in communities

Calgary’s newly formed Community Investment Fund will direct $252 million over the next six years into community projects including a new central library, new recreation centres, and upgrades to community arenas, pools, parks and community associations and recreation groups.  The investment in projects was made possible by the Province’s decision to ease the provincial property READ MORE

Biodiversity plummeting despite increase in protected habitat

A new study reports that despite an increase in global protected habitats since the 1960s, biodiversity is steadily declining. The authors suggest that maintaining biodiversity will require a more holistic approach involving not just conservation, but also reducing pollution, invasive species and consumption patterns.  Read more at Huffington Green.    Download:  Ongoing global biodiversity loss and the need to move beyond protected areas: a review of the technical and practical shortcomings of protected areas on land and sea