Earth Day, Cold, Wet & Windy – Again!

Brampton's new all electric fire truck.

Saturday morning dawned the same way that it has for the past three years, windy, wet and numbingly cold. Storm clouds raced across the sky bringing driving snow and hail pellets. With the temperature hovering around 5 degrees, the snow did not stay on the ground but the biting wind made it feel far cooler than the temperature indicated. Despite that, several hardy souls made the trek to the Earth Day celebration by bicycle, some coming from as far away as Georgetown.

Cyclists leave from Paul Palleschi Recreation Centre in Heart Lake heading for the Earth Day celebration at Gore Meadows Community Centre
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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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Exciting news for Loafer’s Lake

Loafers Lake Announcement

Members of the Brampton Environmental Alliance were in attendance last Monday March 4th as the Ontario government announced it is investing over $2.5 million through the Wetlands Conservation Partner Program to enhance wetland areas in four locations of the Etobicoke Creek watershed in and around Loafer’s Lake and Conservation Drive Park.

The ceremony was hosted by Brampton North MPP Graham McGregor supported by Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister Andrea Khanjin.

“Wetlands are incredibly important to our communities. They make up the natural infrastructure that protect us from drought and flooding, while keeping water clean and providing homes for many at-risk species of plants and animals.”

Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Attending dignitaries included Brampton’s Mayor Patrick Brown, Regional Councillors Navjit Kaur Brar, Michael Palleschi and Rowena Santos as well as representatives from TRCA and Ducks Unlimited.

“This is an incredible investment by the Province of Ontario to support the enhancement of Loafer’s Lake. Investing in the restoration and preservation of wetlands is an investment in the future of our city, ensuring the protection of countless species, like the fish and turtles that call Loafer’s Lake home. Many thanks to Brampton North MPP Graham MacGregor for his outstanding work on this project and I look forward to enjoying the new trails and viewing platforms with the community.”

Patrick Brown – Mayor of the City of Brampton

Loafer’s Lake is one of four priority lakes identified in the City’s “Lake Enhancement Strategy” , the other three being Norton Place Lake, Donnelly Ponds, and Professors Lake. These lakes are representative of the majority of Brampton’s 14 lakes, historical aggregate extraction pits that are now filled with ground water. There is an opportunity to improve public awareness, appreciation and utilization of these lakes. The Lake Enhancement Strategy looks to transform these lakes into “signature features” in the City for recreation and appreciation of nature.

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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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Heat Pump Chronicles Vol 5

This is the fifth in a series of posts on our journey to navigate government grants and loans available for home energy retrofits and to replace our natural gas furnace with a cold-climate heat pump. Click here to see all articles in the series.

My wife Dayle and I have been living with our Mitsubishi Zuba cold-climate heat pump for over three months now and are still very pleased with its performance. We survived last week, through several of the winter’s coldest days, minus 16 degrees Celsius at night, minus 22 with wind-chill.

Overall our house has been more comfortable, mostly because the air isn’t as dry as was the case with our previous natural gas furnace. Scientifically, I’m not sure why that is the case. We are still heating the air and adding water through the same humidifier. But during last year’s cold snap, our humidity dropped to about 30%, whereas this year it’s been hovering around 50%. That means no static cling and no painful shock as you touch a light switch. The absence of these things is noticeable. It also means that we’ve been able to lower the thermostat temperature by a full degree without loss of comfort.

Not that the entire experience since installation has been perfect. There are a few things about the process that you should be aware of should you decide to embark on a similar project. I want to start with the energy audit process for that is key to accessing government grants and loans.

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2023, Year in Review

BEA Youth Council

Twelve months ago we optimistically embraced 2023 as the post COVID year, the end of mask mandates and the beginning for economic recovery and environmental optimism. In many respects 2023 did not live up to expectations. Although the markets rebounded of late, inflation and housing affordability remain top issues for many Canadians.

Environmentally we degraded into scandal surrounding the Greenbelt, and carbon pricing carve-outs, while the Supreme Court ruled against the Federal Impact Assessment Act and emboldened Provinces to become even more aggressive in their challenge against Canada’s plans for clean fuel standards and an emissions cap on the oil and gas industry. All of this in a year of unprecedented environmental disasters including floods on both coasts and raging forest fires from New Brunswick to B.C. Continuing conflicts in many parts of the world including Ukraine and, most recently, the middle east, have added significantly to our sense of angst.

In that context, your Brampton Environmental Alliance team worked to maintain positive focus on local environmental issues that matter to Brampton residents and to take actions to move Brampton closer to being a sustainable community. The actions of the BEA fall into four categories, Advocacy, Events, Education/Resources and Collaboration/Networking. Looking back on 2023, the BEA has had a successful year in each of these categories. Let’s review a few of the highlights.

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