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. 

Managing without Growth

A MODEL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND ECONOMIC STABILITY

Managing Without Growth – Second Edition

The relationship between the natural world and the “progress of humanity” has been complicated and contentious ever since man invented tools and fire. The human brain and psyche have allowed us to out compete most other living organisms. We have developed a model that measures progress based almost exclusively on economic growth.

For centuries our ingenuity and the application of technology have allowed human populations to continue growing at increasing levels of prosperity, consuming resources and producing waste while skirting the limits of a finite world.

How long can we continue dancing on the edge of the cliff and not fall into the abyss? We now affect, what some would argue, is an outsized portion of the world’s resources compared to our population. Example, our species is throwing so much carbon into the atmosphere that it is affecting the climate, threatening our very existence as well as the natural world around us.

Is there a better way? Is there a different model based on something other than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that would allow us to live in relative comfort while maintaining a sustainable relationship with the world that surrounds us and nurtures us? Smart people like Peter Victor think so.

Peter Victor is a Professor Emeritus in Environmental Studies at York University. His book, Managing Without Growth – Slower by Design Not Disaster, challenges the priority that rich countries continue to give to economic growth as an over-arching objective of economic policy. The challenge is based on: a critical analysis of the literature on environmental and resource limits to growth, the disconnect between higher income and happiness, and on the failure of economic growth to meet societal objectives of full employment, elimination of poverty and environmental protection.

Peter’s book uses a rigorous approach to provide insight at the frontier of ecological economics using both systems modelling and a more conventional macro-economic analysis. I encourage you to read the book but here is my précis.
Summarized elements of Peter Victor’s economic model:

  1. The Economy is a system which converts inputs (energy, material, land) into valued goods and services which contribute to individual well-being. Along the way, wastes are also produced as by-product. As the economy grows it consumes more inputs, generates more goods and services and creates more waste. The Economy is an open-ended system meaning that, theoretically, it could grow forever. It is responsible for neither creating the inputs nor for assimilating the wastes. For these things the Economy relies on the Environment. But the Environment is a closed system meaning that there is a finite limit on the amount of inputs it can supply and the amount of waste it can assimilate. As the Economy grows beyond the bio-physical limits to support it, economic output goes into precipitous decline.
  2. Initially individual well-being improves as the economy grows. But, as economic growth continues the relationship between economic growth and improvement in well-being becomes less and less direct. What that means for most “western” economies is that economic growth is no longer contributing positively towards individual happiness.
  3. In a traditional economy, economic throughput is essentially controlled by market prices. The economy assumes that all of the inputs are owned by somebody. If someone wishes to produce a good or service that requires an input (raw materials, labour etc.), a price for that input will be established with its owner. The scarcer the input, the higher the price. The higher the price, the more effort will be expended to create cheaper alternatives or discover ways to reduce consumption by making more efficient use of the input.
  4. Many aspects of the environment are used by everyone but owned by no one. Lack of ownership means no custodianship and scarcity in this context is not defined nor effectively measured. Market forces, therefore, are not good at setting prices for environmental qualities. Examples would be the atmospheric quality degradation as a result of the production of greenhouse gases or the bio-diversity reduction as a result of habitat destruction. There is not an entity that owns the atmosphere or that has custodianship of bio-diversity. Until recently, this didn’t matter so much as the natural cycles were able to accommodate and adjust to the environmental pressures caused by economic growth. Now the scale of the economy is so large that the natural cycles are being overloaded and have begun breaking down. A partial answer to this dilemma is to reduce the global rate of economic growth to near zero.
  5. In Canada, a no-growth economy would still strive for the following:
    a. Full employment (defined at 4% unemployment or less)
    b. Poverty elimination (based on Statistics Canada Low Income Cut-Off model)
    c. 2% inflation or less managed by the Bank of Canada
    d. Environmental sustainability as measured by decreased GHG emissions that would sustain a 1.5°C increase or less to the global climate
    e. Declining debt to GDP ratio
  1. The government policy elements that would move us in the direction of this low or no growth economic model would be:
    a. Balancing immigration levels, life expectancy and birth rate to achieve a stable (not growing) population base
    b. Management of the environment according to the three “Daly” principles, i.e. :
    i. The rate of consumption of renewable resources should not exceed their rate of regeneration,
    ii. The rate of depletion of non-renewable resources should not exceed the rate at which renewable alternatives are created,
    iii. The rate of waste emissions should not exceed the eco-system’s ability of to absorb it (For example, this implies setting a price on carbon emissions, either tax or cap and trade)
    c. Setting out a measures to combat social exclusion and poverty including:
    i. Macro-stabilization and framework measures, (e.g. framework legislation establishing rights and freedoms)
    ii. Protective measures aimed at maintaining a safety net, (e.g. targeted wealth transfers such as social assistance and social housing)
    iii. Measures to promote work incentives and support labour market entry and participation, (e.g. literacy, language and skills training)
    iv. Measures aimed at creating/expanding/maintaining economic opportunity, (e.g. job creation and support for self-employment)
    v. Measures to promote community based economies and neighbourhood quality, (e.g. community, social and economic development, local support for culture, sports and recreation)
    vi. Reformation of public programs for greater accessibility, (e.g. health, education and financial services access)
    vii. Measures promoting the quality of life, well-being and personal development, (e.g. investments in health programs and support for issues such as teen pregnancy, mental health, substance abuse)
    viii. Measures aimed at enhancing community receptivity, (e.g. anti-discrimination measures)
    d. Setting our measures to encourage work-week reduction to reduce individual “over-employment” (i.e. those working more than 50 hours/wk) and provide better work/life balance as well as creating more employment opportunity)
    e. Focus investment, productivity gains and technology development patterns in ways that support and reflect the changing direction in how people lead their lives: more leisure and recreation, more time with family, friends and community, more public goods, fewer private, status goods.
    f. Tax corporations based in part on the capital that they employ because it favours investment in people over produced assets
    g. Impose a structured capital gains tax that favours investment in beneficial, less damaging technologies
    h. Impose tax structures that favours maintenance and repair of, rather than replacement of, existing capital stock
    i. Implement limits on economic throughput that would translate productivity gains into increased leisure to reduce the rate of unemployment or to reductions in environmental burden through environmental training, awareness and changes to process
    j. Implement technology assessment programs that would review proposed implementation of new technologies to evaluate both their beneficial and deleterious effect in terms of achieving the goals that people really value
    k. When evaluating the benefits of international trade agreements, consider their environmental impact both in the source country and in the transport of raw materials and finished and semi-finished goods around the world. Aim for net zero balance of trade on a global basis.
    l. Impose policies to curtail the culture of consumption as a way to increase status at the expense of others. Instead, consumption should be focused on purchasing goods or services that are truly useful and on increasing individual well-being.
  2. Caveats:
    a. Don’t expect very many of these policy initiatives to come from governments as they are now structured. As Peter Victor says, “they must be wanted and demanded by the public because they see a better future for themselves, their children and the children of others, if we turn away from the pursuit of unconstrained economic growth.” (hence the Fridays for Future movement)
    b. It is highly unlikely that a single country could move towards a no-growth economy on its own. It must be a global initiative, one which initially tolerates growth for the less developed countries at the expense of growth for the currently, “richer” nations
    c. While small community based initiatives will help initiate and support the groundswell, ultimately the change must migrate to the mainstream. Again to quote Peter Victor, “A ground swell of support for voluntary simplicity and for more locally based economies and communities, or something similar, might be just what is needed to lead the transformation that logic, data and compassion say is required, but it will not be sufficient. Unless governments introduce appropriate policies for managing without growth based on widespread support but obliging all of us to change our ways, the contributions of those willing to lead the way will prove insufficient.”

Peter Victor’s book was written in 2009 with an updated edition released in 2019. It’s concepts are even more relevant today than when the book was first released and the reasons for change ever more compelling.

The COVID – 19 pandemic has taught us global economic transformation is possible if the consequences of not taking action are seen as too dire. The catastrophes associated with climate change mount up by the day with untold human suffering and economic damages into the trillions of dollars. What will be the tipping point when collectively we say, “enough is enough. We need to try something different.”

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.

Heart Lake Turtle Troopers receives generous merchandise donation from Home Depot

By: Leah Nacua, Heart Lake Turtle Troopers

Three members of Heart Lake Turtle Troopers (one of whom is a Home Depot associate), pose with two other Home Depot associates along with donated merchandise

With support from the BEA, Heart Lake Turtle Troopers was honoured and grateful to receive a generous donation of merchandise from The Home Depot (Brampton #7006, located at Steeles & Hwy 410)! 

We received an assortment of tools and materials that will be used for building and installation of nest-protection boxes, as well as totes that will be used for transporting injured turtles to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre in Peterborough. 

Heart Lake Turtle Troopers will be engaging with ~20 volunteers from the Home Depot team later in May, when we show them the nest-protection work we are doing at Loafers Lake Park.  They will also help us do a park clean up at Loafers Lake.  

Heart Lake Turtle Troopers is a Brampton-based volunteer group. Our mission is to support the protection and monitoring of the local turtle population through a citizen science volunteer program, by working in partnership with community stakeholders to raise community awareness, recruit and engage citizen volunteers and organize and deliver public engagement activities. Visit our Facebook page to learn more about our activities or join our group.

Brampton’s Earth Day Celebration – A Warm Reception on a Cold Day

By: Rosemary Keenan, Sierra Club Peel Chapter Chair and David Laing, President, Brampton Environmental Alliance
Earth Day Activities

It was a brisk, enjoyable and energizing day at the first ever Grown Green Awards Celebration held at Norton Place Park this past Saturday April 23rd. Norton Place Park is a hidden gem in the heart of the City with a small lake beautifully surrounded by trees and trails. The Earth Day event was about celebrating the Brampton City’s and its residents contributions to a more environmentally friendly world.

Continue reading “Brampton’s Earth Day Celebration – A Warm Reception on a Cold Day”

Have your say on Brampton’s Parkland Dedication strategy

Etobicoke Creek Trail Conservation Park

An article in last month’s BEA Weekly described the ecosystem services provided by Brampton’s tree canopy and invited residents to offer their opinions on the City’s Urban Forest Management Plan. The City is also interested in public feedback as it works to update its Parkland Dedication by-law by this fall to conform to changes in Provincial regulation. Why is this important and why should you care?

Brampton is under tremendous pressure to accommodate population growth and maintain or increase the availability of affordable housing within its boundary limits. At the same time it strives to maintain, or improve, the quality of life for its residents and to keep Brampton as a city where people want to come to work, live and play.

An effective way to improve life quality for people living in urban settings is by providing easily accessible parkland. Access to the outdoors and communing with nature are critically important to our mental health. Providing parks and natural settings for recreation and exercise is an effective way to promote healthy active living. This is especially true in times of emotional stress, such as dealing with the effects of a global pandemic.

A December 2021 Chinese study, published in the National Library of Medicine concludes, “To achieve the goal of promoting mental wellbeing through urban planning and design during the future pandemics, policymakers and planners are advised to provide more well-maintained and accessible parkland and encourage residents to use them with proper precautions.”

Adequate parkland is an important part of economic, environmental, and social sustainability of any urban centre. In addition to supporting better health outcomes, naturalized outdoor spaces also provide a myriad of eco-system services, including air purification, temperature regulation, water filtration and flood management.

Brampton’s 2040 vision calls for the establishment of an “Eco-Park” to conserve and enhance natural systems within the City while optimizing the balance between environmental conservation on one hand and public accessibility on the other. The concept of the Eco-Park is that it will enhance Brampton’s reputation as a “green city” by evolving the natural heritage system into a network of “Eco Spaces” consisting of, parks, green spaces, green infrastructure streetscapes, utility corridors, and the front and back yards. All these spaces conforming to a set of established principles as defined in the City’s Eco-Parks strategy.

But where does the land come from to support all of these parks and recreational facilities? It turns out that much of it comes from developers through a process called “Parkland Dedication”.

Parkland Dedication is a city by-law under the planning act that requires a portion of land being proposed for development, (or re-development), to be conveyed (given) to the City for parkland. The amount depends on the land’s intended purpose. For commercial or industrial development, 2% of the property must be given to the city to be used for parkland. If the property is to be used for residential purposes, then the greater of 5%, or one hectare for every three-hundred dwelling units must be made available for parkland. This amount is exclusive of valley lands, (floodplain), water courses, buffers or easements.

The by-law also allows the developer to provide cash in lieu of handing over a portion of development project land. The cash in lieu concept is designed for the city to pool funds to buy larger tracts of land to create a smaller number of larger parks rather than having little parkettes associated with each individual development project.

Historically the Parkland Dedication by-law has allowed the city to amass significant parkland. But the approach to parkland dedication is coming under increasing criticism.

First, there is growing pressure from the development industry to cap parkland funding. The arguments are that the cost of cash in lieu of parkland is added to the home purchase price making it less affordable. It also tends to discourage higher density development where the parkland cost can be a significant portion of the overall cost of the development project based on the one hectare per 300 residential unit formula.

The second issue is that the city can sit on the reserve cash for years without finding the right opportunity to buy land suitable for parkland development. Today the reserve exceeds $100M!

The third issue is that parkland is not expanding as fast as the city is growing. Brampton currently provides 6.3 hectares of parkland for every 1,000 residents. That compares favourably to larger cities like Toronto, or Vancouver that have less than half of what we currently enjoy. But, Brampton’s population is expected to grow more than 50% in the next two decades and this growth will see increasing pressure on Brampton’s parks and green spaces unless park space is added at the same rate.

Parkland dedication is a complicated issue that will require complex solutions. The most important thing you can do is to let city staff know you care a proper ratio of parkland to people as the City grows in population and that parkland should be accessible to all by being equitably distributed across the city. Please take a moment to provide your opinion on the City’s park strategy by completing the Park’s Survey.

BikeBrampton Announces 2022 Outdoor Schedule

Recent reports from the International Panel on Climate Change paint a grim future for our planet in the coming years unless we make dramatic changes in how we produce and consume energy. That scary analysis should be enough to mobilize us to take action. But what can we, as individuals, realistically do?

Carbon emissions are a waste by-product from our production and use of energy. We can lower emissions either by using less energy or by using energy from less wasteful sources. It turns out that one of the most effective things we can do here in Brampton to reduce emissions is to use our cars less and our bodies more.

A 2019 energy audit completed for the city’s Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan, found that Brampton’s cars and trucks account for almost 60% of the city’s carbon emissions. And a 2016 transportation survey found that, of the 2.3M transportation trips taken in Peel Region by car each day, the median distance is just 6.3 km. That’s an hour’s walk but less than a 20 minute bike ride.

The human body uses energy very efficiently to move itself, especially when travelling by bicycle. The calories contained within a glass of orange juice will carry a cyclist about 5km. That same amount of energy derived from gasoline burned in a car’s engine, typically won’t carry the driver to the end of their driveway.

Transportation carbon intensity
Creating a cycling culture Katie Whittmann (2015)

Adding costs to the equation makes the case for travelling by bicycle even more compelling. Brampton drivers spend just under $1B per year on gasoline and diesel fuel. That’s on top of the costs for, licensing, road construction and maintenance as well as the vehicle capital and repairs. Overall, a typical motorized vehicle costs more than $6,000/year to own and operate, whereas the average cost of ownership for a bicycle is less than $100 annually.

Barriers to cycling

Access to a bicycle, perceived distance, perceived comfort, lack of skill or concerns about theft, weather and arriving sweaty to the destination are among the many reasons cited for why more people don’t use a bicycle for transportation. A barrier not often discussed, however, is a lack of cycling culture.

Cycling for transportation is considered the norm in many parts of the world where conditions are similar to those here at home. But, in many North American cities, cycling behaviour has been discouraged to the point where a person who uses a bicycle for anything other than recreation is considered second-class or more than a bit odd. Eleanor McMahon, a past Ontario cabinet minister, past Board Chair of Share the Road Cycling Coalition, and the current President and CEO of the TransCanada Trails Association, once said that, “cycling is known as a rich man’s sport, and a poor man’s second choice.”

Fortunately that perception in Ontario and specifically in Brampton is beginning to change. There is no question that cycling popularity is on the rise, especially since the pandemic began encouraging more outdoor activities. Bike retailers have had a hard time keeping up with demand and long wait times for new bicycles have only recently begun to ease.

The city of Brampton responded in 2020 initiating a “Streets for People” campaign that is building bicycle infrastructure as part of an Active Transportation Master Plan. Last year 15km of linear bicycle infrastructure was added including, multi-use paths, urban shoulders and on-street bike lanes. This year city plans call for an additional 31.5km that will flesh out a significant portion of the city-wide cycling network.

Safe infrastructure, is only one of the required elements leading to the cultural shift necessary to get folks out of their cars and onto their bikes. Education and encouragement are two other important factors. That’s where BikeBrampton and the Community Cycling Program comes in.

BikeBrampton is a volunteer group advocating for better and safer active transportation choices in Brampton and Peel Region. As the name implies active transportation is the term used to describe destination type trips that are mostly or entirely human powered including, cycling, walking, skateboarding, etc. But BikeBrampton also partners with PCHS (Punjabi Community Health Service) to deliver the Community Cycling Program (CCP) on behalf of Peel Region.

The purpose of the CCP is to increase cycling mode share by creating a cycling community and normalizing cycling as a legitimate form of transportation. The program increases access to a working bicycle through a bike lending library and by teaching basic bike maintenance skills. It also helps build familiarity, comfort and confidence for riding on existing infrastructure by teaming new and experienced riders as well as through skills training programs and group rides.

One of the more popular aspects of the program is the series of ‘BikeWrx’ pop up events at different sites in both Brampton and Caledon throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Last year’s pop ups proved very popular. According to Sonia Maset, the Brampton and Caledon Bike Hub Program Manager working for PCHS, “Our goal at the beginning of the summer of 2021 was to provide 100 hours of service to 2,000 residents between July and October at 13 different locations, 10 in Brampton and 3 Caledon. In four months, we delivered 120 hours to 2,348 residents over 46 events spanning 17 locations in the two municipalities.”

Services at these events included free bike bell and light installation (courtesy of the Region of Peel), free bike inspections, basic repairs, bike and helmet fittings, route
planning, trail etiquette, group rides, obstacle courses, and one-on-one rider education.

shows a typical pop up venue
2021 Professors Lake Pop-up

The BikeBrampton Bike Hub team is preparing once again for a full slate of outdoor events for this year in both Brampton and Caledon. Bring your bike for a free inspection and minor tune-up. Learn about route planning and bike safety. Get a free bell or bike light while supplies last. Check out the schedule on BikeBrampton.ca. Sign up to the BikeBrampton News to stay up to date on the latest event information including Bike the Creek, Brampton’s signature cycling event.

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!