Join us Saturday October 1 for a walk/ride through farms and conservation areas threatened by Highway 413

Harvest Ontario Walk/Bike

Image courtesy of Environmental Defence

If you are interested in showing your displeasure about the Ontario PC government’s plan to ram a provincial limited access highway through the heart of the greenbelt all but destroying Brampton’s planned Heritage Heights community, here is your chance.

Several grassroots organizations have banded together to raise awareness about the proposed 413 highway and the 2,000 acres of irreplaceable farmland that will be destroyed and that will set the stage for car dependent development for the next 30 years!

You can join walkers starting from the Heart Lake Garden Centre on Heart Lake Rd. at 10:00am. You can join cyclists starting near Kleinburg or from Mississauga at the Lisgar GO station. Both rides start at 9:45am. Walks and rides end at the Brampton Fairgrounds in Caledon. 

At the Fairgrounds there will be music, entertainment and fun! Click here for more information and to register. 

You’re the Solution to Less Pollution

August 27th BBQ and Paint by Numbers Event

A great way to revive community spirit! On August 27th, Brampton Environmental Alliance (BEA) set up a ‘Paint by Numbers’ station for the community of Knightsbridge to paint anti-litter art on waste bins.

Saptha (left) and Sima Naseem (right) are ready to facilitate the ‘Paint by Numbers’ activity at BEA’s station

The BEA event was part of a ‘Back 2 School BBQ’ event organised by Families of Virtue in support of the community. There was plenty of food and vendor displays along with games and activities for children and families. It was lively and fun!

The BEA also held its in-person public/member meeting as part of the day’s activities. Thanks to BEA members, P.A.L. (People Against Littering), Sierra Club, and Human Impact Environment whose volunteers helped out at the event! 

Sierra Club’s Rosemary Keenan sets up waste sorting game.

The ‘Paint by Numbers’ activity is a component of the anti-litter waste education campaign “You’re the Solution to Less Pollution. (See blog post by David Laing on August 10th). Saptha, the BEA student intern and project coordinator, used this event to engage the community and communicate about litter and its effects on the environment. 

Children painting the “Clean water starts with you” waste bin at the event.

A shout out to the staff of the City of Brampton’s Operation Centre. They supported us by providing a shelter space to use while completing the waste bins and transporting the bins to the sites.

A. Barrel located at Knightsbridge
B. Barrel located in Eastbourne Park

Saptha created the initial designs of the anti-litter art for five waste bins. Sima Naseem, a local public artist, helped refine those concepts. Saptha and Sima collaborated to paint the anti-litter art and messages onto the waste bins. 

On the event day, community members participated in painting 3 silhouette waste bins. The other two waste bins were ready to go on-site. 

C. & D. These barrels are headed for Earnscliffe Park

The next part of the project is to collect and analyze the data for the final report. Quantitative and qualitative data will be collected using a combination of surveys and, social media feedback. Observations and data will be collected throughout September.

Saptha wants to understand the public perceptions of all five of the newly painted waste bins after they’ve been in their new locations for a while. She hopes to see positive changes around the areas with the painted cans. Her hypothesis is that, as community members engage with keeping parks clean, it will create a sense of stewardship for those parks meaning reduced litter and an increased level of caring for the environment. 

Positive data may inform whether or not anti-litter public art on waste bins can become a future element in the structure of public spaces to help people engage with their community.

E. Another barrel headed for Eastbourne Park

The Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) will include a survey as part of the Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Project (SNAP) newsletter to be distributed to the Bramalea community. The survey will capture peoples’ perceptions about disposing litter in these waste bins and its significance in saving the environment.

A sample question in the survey will ask if the amount of litter in the waste bin reflects the presence/absence of littering in the general area of the park. For instance, is there less litter in the area and more litter in the painted waste bins? Staff from the City of Brampton’s Operation Centre have also been asked to observe changes in littering behaviour when changing the waste bins’ garbage bags.

An Instagram poll has already been conducted from @bramptonea where folks voted for their favourite bin!  If you notice these bins at the parks, take a snapshot, and tag us on Instagram! Let us know what you think. 

Saptha wants to thank the BEA member volunteers as well as public artist Sima Naseem, the City of Brampton Operations Centre staff, and the TRCA SNAP project team for making this project possible! 

Stay tuned for the project outcome blog post October 2022. 

Your the Solution to Less Pollution!

Paint by numbers poster

Join us on Saturday August 27th for a free, fun, social, event to promote waste clean up and reduction. It’s all part of the Families of Virtue “Back 2 School BBQ”! We will be painting City of Brampton garbage cans by the numbers using designs provided by local artists. Our friends from Sierra Club Peel will also be demonstrating what gets recycled and what gets tossed through their waste sorting game.

Where: In the greenspace behind 4 & 10 Knightsbridge Road
When: 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Feeling helpless about environmental issues such as, noxious weeds, pollution, flooding and climate change? Consider joining the Brampton Environmental Alliance. We welcome both individuals and organizations. Come to our BEA members meeting at the BBQ on the 27th. It will run from 1:00 – 2:00pm. Learn who the BEA is and what we do. Learn about One-Planet Living. Meet our member organizations. Learn what you can do to advocate for the environment in your community. All are welcome. See you there!

YOU’RE THE SOLUTION TO LESS POLLUTION

ANTI-LITTERING WASTE EDUCATION CAMPAIGN organized by the Brampton Environmental Alliance and supported the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Excerpt from a paper written by the BEA’s York University Student Intern, Sapthasvanaa Killewalavan, (Saptha).

Through the 2040 Vision process and other outreach activities, Brampton residents indicated they want the city to be a leader in environmental innovation. They want our civic leaders to build a healthy, safe, and sustainable city.

Community resilience is fostered by helping connect people with nearby nature. We
want people to value nature. Humans depend on forests and rivers for their well-being. We
wish to help people understand human impacts on the built environment.

Brampton’s littering problem contributes to environmental impacts that interrupts
economic growth and breaks down the quality of life. As the population grows amongst diverse communities, some people may have a limited understanding of proper waste disposal methods and their effect on the environment. Additionally, the economic sector of the city is vast, but it is not entirely responsible for environmental impacts such as air pollution and the possible loss of ecological habitats.

The BEA and its members including the TRCA, Sierra Club, Human Impact Environment and People Against Littering, have teamed to produce a waste education campaign to reduce waste, soil, and air pollution from littering.

A healthy, accessible, litter-free urban park encourages people to engage and connect with green spaces. This waste education campaign will inspire people to take action and contribute to healthier urban parks. As litter slowly disappears the risk of visiting parks in Brampton reduces. Reducing litter can ensure safe and welcoming urban parks.

A major part of the campaign involves engaging people to paint park waste collection barrels and create public art posters. Public art has the ability to shape urban behavior.

Creativity in waste education campaigns to engage the community along with consistent city enforcement, and provision of proper receptacles, all contribute to a positive paradigm shift to reduce littering behaviour. It is an interactive component in the public realm. Hence, anti-litter public art designs can help people behave and interact with the art.

The goal of this project therefore is to provide accessible information and education to people including those in vulnerable communities. Graphic and public art messages will be circulated in the neighborhood and on social media. This can grab the community’s attention. Using large fonts, slogans and bright images, on posters and public art will include important details about littering.

A sample design of a trash can mural inspires the community to protect the
Mississippi River.
Sample poster designs from Google

The program will culminate with an event on Saturday August 27th, 1:00-5:00pm in the Greenspace behind 4 Knightsbridge Road where the community can help paint City of Brampton waste cans based on an artist’s design. Keep that date open on your calendars and stay tuned for event details.

Stop Highway 413. There’s still time

Environmental Defence

The pressing need of the climate emergency gives us a unique opportunity to rethink how we use land and how we move people and goods in the Greater Toronto Area. Building more super highways such as the proposed 413 and the Bradford Bypass represent status quo thinking that is bad not just for environmental reasons but also because of the cost and the negative social implications. Recent BEA blog posts outline these consequences so please check them out for more details.

We still have an opportunity to do this right but first we have to get our Provincial Government to rethink their position that supports building these highways. The first step is to encourage the Federal Government to complete a full impact assessment to take yet another detailed look at the impact of Highway 413. Add yours to the chorus of Ontario voices who are concerned the Provincial Government will be taking us in the wrong direction if this highway is built.

You may have voted Conservative in the last provincial election but recent surveys indicate you don’t support spending billions on highways that are of questionable value and certain to cause environmental damage. Please take action to make your position clear on this issue. Thank you!

BEA to Co-host Provincial Election Debate

Ontario 100 debates on the environment

The Brampton Environmental Alliance (BEA) is teaming with Engage Peel, Human Impact Environment and GreePAC to host an all-candidates debate for the upcoming Provincial election in the riding of Brampton North. The debate will take place virtually on May 17th, 6:30-8:00pm.

GreenPAC is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that runs 100 Debates on the Environment, with the objective to make the environment an issue that no party and no candidate can ignore. GreenPAC works with local groups to co-ordinate and underwrite the costs of hosting an all-candidates debate.

“GreenPAC believes, debates let candidates know that the environment is a top voter priority”, according to GreenPAC Program Coordinator Rizwana Hussain. “They help voters to make the connection between climate change and their other priorities, like health and affordability, and to make an informed choice at the polls.”

The debate will offer local candidates the opportunity to answer questions on the environment and other issues important to voters in the Brampton North riding. Attend the debate by registering through Eventbrite here. If you would like to have your question put to the candidates submit your question here.

On Being a BEA Student Intern

Students Rajbalinder Ghatoura and Gavin Lin reflect on their time supporting the Brampton Environmental Alliance as student interns.

Rajbalinder Ghatoura is a fourth year student in Environmental Studies at York University. He is also a Brampton resident who has been involved in several environmental initiatives starting when he was in Grade 7! As a secondary school student, Rajbalinder was one of the founding members of Human Impact Environment, a youth focused environmental not-for-profit organization.

Here is a video that Rajbalinder produced summarizing his time working with the BEA as the Director of Memberships.

Gavin Lin is also a fourth year student at York University in Environmental Studies. Gavin’s focus is urban planning and incorporating sustainable practices as part of city building. Although he is a resident of Mississauga, Gavin chose to join the BEA as a student intern last fall. He continues to support the BEA as a Board member at large. Here is Gavin’s description of his time at the BEA.

My experience working with the Brampton Environmental Alliance (BEA) as a student placement has been very pleasant. The BEA is a professional organization with an active board of members who are each very passionate about their role while creating positive change in the city of Brampton through different environmentally focused initiatives. I was able to attend their regular meetings and take part in different aspects of the organization such as marketing, website development, and research.

Outside of board meetings I had weekly meetings with my supervisors Stacey and Rajbalinder, they were extremely friendly and were able to help me stay organized during my placement. They also continuously encouraged me to build and improve on my skills throughout the term. The entire placement was a very good opportunity for me and I appreciated the level of professionalism and communication I experienced. 

In my experience with the Brampton Environmental Alliance, I have been able to be a part of a growing community of passionate individuals looking to create a positive change for Brampton and I would encourage any environmentally driven students and individuals to apply and be a part of this initiative.

The BEA currently has opportunities for student interns to fill roles for the spring, summer, and fall of 2022. Anyone interested is welcome to apply by forwarding their resume and cover letter to, info@bramptonea.org.

Brampton Council Approves Centre for Community Energy Transformation

CCET logo courtesy City of Brampton

This past Wednesday Brampton Council unanimously approved seed funding for the Centre for Community Energy Transformation, or CCET. This is a very important milestone on the city’s path to a low-carbon future.

The concept for the CCET started in 2018 as part of the Brampton 2040 Vision exercise, one of the most comprehensive public engagement process the City has ever undertaken. The Vision maps how the City will grow over the next 18 years, living the cultural mosaic of our diverse population.

The importance of Brampton as a green, environmentally sustainable city, featured prominently in the public feedback sessions. In response, the vision document called for the creation of an independent organization that would help steward Brampton’s green journey. The CCET is now that organization.

Using 2016 as the baseline year, the City set targets to cut carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, 50% by 2040 and 80% by 2050. Improving building energy efficiency is an important part of achieving Brampton’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan.

Courtesy City of Brampton

Residences are the second largest source of climate changing emissions. The average Brampton home consumes more than twice as much energy compared to an A-rated home in Germany. Brampton has a large number of older homes that are less efficient. And most homes burn natural gas for heat and hot water.

A major purpose of the CCET, therefore, will be to help residents reduce energy consumption and convert to lower carbon energy sources. The CCET will work with banks, municipalities and other governments to make it easy for homeowners to finance building retrofits. It will also work with industry and post secondary institutions to recruit and train the auditors, technicians, contractors and installers necessary to create low-risk retrofit solutions at scale that will pay for themselves over time through reduced heating and air conditioning costs.

Depending on the age of the house, retrofits could be as simple as sealing doors and windows or adding insulation to attics, walls, and basements. Or, it could involve replacing natural gas furnaces with high efficiency electric heat pumps, installing solar hot water systems or tapping into a “district energy node”. Regardless, the changes promise exciting times for both residents and business as the Centre for Community Energy Transformation develops over the coming year.

A Downtown Development Project with Sustainable Intent

The past few months has seen a flurry of submissions for Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZO) in the City of Brampton. So the first refreshing thing about the new development being proposed for the southeast corner of Nelson and Elizabeth Streets is that the applicant, Greenwin + Sweeny Holdings, is not requesting fast-track consideration via an MZO.

The development checks boxes for many of the City’s Sustainable Community Development Guidelines including, compact form, mixed use, walkability and cultural heritage. The project plan includes two towers, 42 and 34 stories respectively that will provide a mix of 205 hotel suites, 694 sq m of retail space, and 771 long-term rental residential units, 40 of which will be affordable housing. The project’s location and building concept is designed to enhance walkability and to “attract residents who will want to live in alignment with ‘One Planet Living’ principles.”

Initially the buildings will provide 477 vehicular parking spaces on four floors, one below grade and three above. The three above grade parking levels, however, can be repurposed for additional commercial or residential space, as Brampton’s GO transit hub expands services and the need for personal automobiles lessens.

The project will conserve and restore the heritage property at 24 Elizabeth, once home to Brampton’s first Mayor, John Haggert from 1874-76. The house could be repurposed as a hostel or restaurant/café with an outdoor patio. Landscaping amenities including street trees and public art help flesh out the project description.

As details emerge we will be looking for the project to include innovative sustainability features in the final design such as, ground sourced energy for HVAC, solar panels and or green roof systems, grey water management systems and, bird friendly windows. 

The city is creating a Centre for Energy Transformation that will be operational in the next two years with the intent to make Brampton and Peel Region a world leader in energy management and carbon reduction. Imagine this development as a model of sustainable urban design in Brampton’s downtown.  We are excited by the possibilities!

Brampton Council rejects motion to reconsider highway 413 position

Heritage Heights Boulevard (artist interpretation)

During today’s meeting the motion to reconsider the City’s support for Highway 413 was defeated. A two-thirds majority vote was required to reopen the topic but the request put forward by Councillor Whillans and seconded by Councillor Santos was rejected in a 6-5 vote. Here’s how the vote went.

For
Councillor Bowman
Councillor Palleschi
Councillor Santos
Councillor Vicente
Councillor Whillans

Against
Mayor Brown
Councillor Dhillon
Councillor Fortini
Councillor Medeiros
Councillor Williams
Councillor Singh

Check out last week’s post, Brampton Council to revisit support for the 413, for more background information. Council’s previous support for this highway was predicated on the boulevard option for Heritage Heights. The Province recently firmly rejected this option when the highway is built.

Why does this vote mean so much? It’s important for many reasons but here are the two key takeaways. First it gives the Conservative Provincial Government’s position to fast-track this highway a boost just as momentum and public opinion was shifting towards scrapping the project. Recent public opinion polls suggested more than 80% of people living in the 905 region did not want the Province to build highways that would negatively affect the Greenbelt. Municipalities from Markham to Mississauga have been passing motions stating their opposition. Brampton’s move, however, helps reinforce the Provincial Government’s position that this is a much needed highway that trumps environmental and other concerns.

Second, this vote indicates that Council is willing to compromise its principles of good city planning in order to placate its Provincial masters. This is worrisome because it means all of the statements and commitments made by this Council to date are nothing more than empty promises that the residents of this City can no longer count on. It’s the same old story all over again. Visions, plans and promises are mere candles in the wind, extinguished by a “puff” from a developer here and a “sigh” from our Premier there.

Those of us who hold dear Brampton’s 2040 Vision and who want desperately for this City to grow in prosperity yet grow green and sustainably, have reason to despair today’s decision. Remember this at election time, when the candidates come knocking.