Achēv EcoSphere conference & job fair

David Laing presenting at EcoSphere

On Saturday March 30th, the BEA participated in the Achēv Eco-Sphere environmental conference & job fair which was aimed at raising awareness about sustainability and eco-friendly practices.

MP Brampton Centre Shafiq Ali presents at the EcoSphere conference

The event featured engaging speakers including, Shafqat Ali, MP for Brampton Centre, Paloma D’Silva, a recently graduated environmental data management specialist from Mississauga, Miranda Bhaksh, founder of Community Climate Council and recently named one of the Top 30 Changemakers under 30. I was honoured to also be included on the list of guest presenters.

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It’s Earth Month – Give your planet a hug!

Dayle hugging willow tree

April is a great time of year. It heralds the true beginning of spring with longer days, warm sunshine and soaking rains that wash away the winter blahs. Signs of love are everywhere, from the birds gathering nesting material to the young folk, holding hands in the park.

Perhaps the best part of April is that it heralds Earth Month, a time to think about all of the environmental challenges we are facing and to take positive action to create a sustainable future for us and all the creatures sharing this small planet we call home.

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Is Your Community About To Get Burned?

Emerald Energy from waste plant

by: Liz Benneian Ontario Zero Waste Coalition

Incinerator/Waste-to-Energy corporations are once again trying to sell their polluting plants to municipal councils

[Editor’s note: Emerald Energy From Waste, a Brampton based company recently submitted a proposal to the Ontario Government requesting permission to increase its incineration capacity up to 5 times from current levels. Peel Region Council cancelled its contract with Emerald in 2017 meaning the waste burned in the Emerald plant is imported from other municipalities. If allowed to proceed this expanded plant would be the largest mass burn facility in Canada with a capacity to consume 1/3 of all of Ontario’s garbage.]

After years of bad press about failed incineration/waste-to-energy projects, plants polluting their communities, municipal bankruptcies due to “put or pay” contracts, fires at various sites, stiff opposition to new plants from citizens and an end to some lucrative government subsidies, incinerator proponents largely disappeared from the Canadian landscape. Now, however, they are back.

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Federal Government withdraws 413 environmental assessment requirement

2022 Bill 23 Stop the 413

This past Thursday the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario submitted a joint application to the Federal Court to withdraw the federal environmental assessment for Highway 413. The withdrawal means that arguments about the legalities surrounding the Federal Impact Assessment Act will not be clarified by the courts. It also means there will be no opportunity for the court, (and thereby the public) to adjudicate the environmental impacts of building this highway.

“The federal government needs to urgently introduce legislation that updates the Impact Assessment Act and that re-designates the Highway 413 project under it. Revoking the designation before a new Impact Assessment Act is in place was irresponsible and unnecessary,” said Laura Bowman, Staff Lawyer, Ecojustice.

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Brampton Environmental Alliance hosts Annual General Meeting

AGM Announcement Tile

The Brampton Environmental Alliance (BEA) hosted its second annual general meeting this past Wednesday March 13th. Twenty-two individual and organizational members attended along with 9 non-members and 5 guests. Among the guests was Brampton North MPP Graham McGregor who engaged with members at the conclusion of the meeting.

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The Far-reaching impacts of Provincial Highway Building

Grosbeak at feeder

When I was a boy growing up in Erindale, a hamlet that is now part of Mississauga, I would often see animals and plants rarely seen today. Bluebirds, Eastern Meadowlarks, Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting; these birds would often be seen around our backyard feeder. Salamanders could be found under almost every rock in our garden and smelt and brook trout were easy to spot in the Credit River running behind our house.

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Brampton Environmental Alliance to host Annual General Meeting

The Brampton Environmental Alliance Board is pleased to announce that the second annual general meeting will be held on Wednesday evening March 13th, 7:00-9:00pm, 50 Sunny Meadow Blvd. Unit 109, (accessible directly from the parking lot behind the building).

Vito Beato, President – Unifor Local 1285 will be our keynote presenter. Mr Beato will discuss similarities between the labour movement and environmental activism and the importance of both to society at large.

If you are concerned about the environment and want to know more about how you can help address local environmental issues such as:

  • Goreway Gas Plant Expansion
  • Plastic Waste and Litter
  • Declining Water Quality in the Credit and Etobicoke Creek
  • Worker Safety
  • Decline in local bird, bee and butter fly populations
  • Loss of tree canopy due to climate change and invasive species
  • Warmer winter temperatures affecting recreational activities

Then come to the BEA annual general meeting and consider joining the Alliance!

The meeting is free and open to everyone whether you are a BEA member or not.

Only BEA members are allowed to vote on BEA business matters.

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It’s April 2023, How Should You Recognize Earth Month, Day, Hour

Ah April! With longer days, the cloak of winter darkness rests lighter on our shoulders. The warmer sun thaws our blood and makes our spirits rise. April is a month of rebirth and awakening; a time to give thanks for the joy of seasons, the laughter of children playing outside, the birds singing and the plants greening, April is also Earth Month, a time to celebrate nature’s bounty and to give thanks for the ecosystem services provided to us by the plants, animals, water and air that surrounds us and supports us. Earth Day on April 22nd, is a time to honour the achievements of the environmental movement and raise awareness of the need to protect the Earth’s natural resources for future generations.

Some would argue the environmental movement merely slows down progress and adds costs to development projects. History shows, however, that unbridled progress often leads to unintended environmental consequences and the potential for human catastrophe. Let me offer a few examples.

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Applications Now Open for Citizen Advisory Committees

Grow Green Network Launch

At the beginning of each new term, Brampton City Council approves a list of committees, boards and tribunals that will provide them advice on specific matters requiring a citizen voice and aligning with the City’s Strategic Plan. Each committee has a mandate and workplan, (usually updated annually), is supported by city staff and, in many cases, handles work that staff don’t usually perform.

Most of these committees are composed of citizen volunteers who have an interest in specific aspects of the city building process and who want to be involved in helping shape the policy and direction of city growth. The Environment Advisory Committee (BEAC) is one of these civic bodies.

BEAC’s purpose is to assist, educate, and engage the community to advance the goals and actions of the City’s Environmental Master Plan (EMP). The Committee advises Council on environmental planning policy and sustainability matters to promote the protection, enhancement, and management of the City’s natural and built environment.

The BEAC is comprised of 12-15 citizen members including one Council member who, for this term, is Councillor Gurpartap Singh Toor. BEAC meetings are held every other month and usually last about 2 hours. Sub-committees are formed to perform specific tasks identified in the workplan.

I joined the BEAC as a citizen member in 2012 and have participated through 2 1/2 Council terms and three Mayors. I have seen the environment move from being a fringe topic of Council discussion to being a mainstream Council priority, driven mostly by climate change.

I’ve been involved in many environmental advocacy initiatives including Heart Lake Road Ecology, the City’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan, the declaration of a climate emergency and the creation of an active transportation department and master plan, (ATMP).

I’ve been involved in many community outreach activities including helping organize an Ontario environment advisory committee symposium, the creation of the Grow Green Network, (now the BEA), and the City’s first Earth Day festival and awards celebration.

I’ve also had considerable input into the City’s 2040 Vision, the development plan for Heritage Heights, the Uptown densification strategy, the Downtown revitalization plan and the Riverwalk Flood Control and Management Project, among others.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have met and worked with some very wonderful people, committee members, council and staff. We sometimes disagreed on approach or priority but we all felt passionately about the importance of environmental sustainability to the health and well-being of Brampton’s citizens.

I’ve decided not to put my name forward for a BEAC position for this Council term. It’s not because I think the job is done, far from it. Continued environmental degradation is by far the biggest threat to the quality of our way of life, maybe even to our very survival. But it is time for those with new and innovative ideas to step forward and be heard. I encourage you to do so.

As quoted in the Citizen Appointment Public Notice published by the City Clerk’s office, “Citizen appointments play a critical role in how we plan for the future. Public participation is vital to good governance and growth. Together, we can make the best possible Brampton. Please consider putting your name forward to help shape today and a thriving tomorrow for our City.”

BEA Meeting Wednesday December 8, 2021 6:15pm

The next meeting of the Brampton Environmental Alliance will be held virtually on Wednesday December 8th. Informal networking at 6:15pm. The meeting starts at 6:30pm sharp! Click the Register button for your free ticket.

Presentations

Dianne Saxe

Keynote presentation by Dr. Dianne Saxe. Dianne Saxe is one of Canada’s most respected environmental lawyers and was the independent Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, until the Conservative Government rolled that position under the Office of the Auditor General in 2019. Dianne is running as a member of Provincial Parliament candidate for the Green Party of Ontario (University Rosedale riding) in next year’s Provincial election. Dianne is an articulate defender of the environment and a champion of the new green economy. The BEA is thrilled Dianne has agreed to share her passion and environmental knowledge with BEA meeting participants.

Tooba Shakeel – LEAF newsletter

Spotlight presentation by Tooba Shakeel. Tooba is a Senior Coordinator of Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program (SNAP) at Credit Valley Conservation (CVC). She is an ISA Certified Arborist, an EcoDistrict Accredited Professional and a Board member of LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) a Toronto-based not-for-profit group dedicated to urban forest protection. Thanks to Tooba for agreeing to share information about CVC programs in Brampton including the Fletcher’s Creek SNAP!

After the main meeting, those who wish to become more involved in the BEA can join one of the three working groups described below. Sign up to join one of the three working groups here.

Working Groups

  • Events
    This group coordinates events for members and assists with events for residents – BEA Collaboration event, Brampton Earth Day event
  • Education and Resources
    This group arranges talks on environmental topics, using the One Planet principles of focus: Land and Nature, Culture and Community, Travel and Transport as they relate to Brampton. The group also helps connect members to needed resources and expertise on financing and various environmental topics
  • Advocacy
    This group helps coordinate and amplify community advocacy campaigns and environmental initiatives under the three One Planet principles above.