This municipality is a leader in climate collaboration.
Sustainable Future: The City of Burlington
Situated on the north western edge of Lake Ontario, the City of Burlington is among the best, most beautiful places to live in Canada. Surrounded by the beauty of the Niagara Escarpment, Greenbelt, lakes and provincial parks, Burlington has a strong focus on protecting the environment through local sustainability efforts. The City is committed to sustainable business practices that allow private companies and the government to work together, promoting a clean and green environment that is attractive to live and work in.
The Climate Emergency Declaration
In recent years, our country has experienced warming at twice the rate of the global average, according to a report led by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The effects of climate change are inevitably felt in Burlington too, with increasingly frequent and intense wind, rain and snowstorms. In April 2019, City Council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency in Burlington. The purpose of this motion was to deepen the city’s commitment to protecting the environment, economy and community.
Valuable Collaboration with External Stakeholders: BurlingtonGreen and Sustainable Hamilton Burlington
The City of Burlington is working closely with external stakeholders
to develop the Climate Action Plan. Taking action on climate is not just the responsibility of City Hall but requires collective action across the community. Among the stakeholders the City consults and collaborates with are BurlingtonGreen and Sustainable Hamilton Burlington.
“As Burlington’s population grows, so too do the implications for the health of the environment. More than a decade of experience has reinforced that when hands-on rewarding opportunities are provided, community members will and do come together to make positive change happen,” says BurlingtonGreen’s Executive Director, Amy Schnurr. Established in 2007, BurlingtonGreen is a citizen-led, nonpartisan charity that encourages the community to protect the environment, fight against climate change and create a healthier city through awareness, advocacy, and action. Their valuable contributions include:
- Go Green workshops for kids and a Youth Environmental Network
- Eco-Film Festivals
- Youth Summits
- Eco-Awards events
- Community clean up and greening events
- Volunteer opportunities for local eco-action projects
- Campaigns to protect urban green spaces from development
- Working with various environmental coalitions such as Stop the Escarpment Highway,Trumpeter Swans and the Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition
- Key inputs to the development of the City’s Urban Forest Management Plan
- Solution-focused strategies and measurables to improve various City Master Plans, land-use planning proposals, policies, and the City’s first 25-year Strategic Plan
Sustainable Hamilton Burlington (SHB) is an organization that works to achieve a strong local economy through sustainable business practices. They believe that business leaders are powerfully positioned to make small changes within their companies that can lead to big environmental transformations. In September 2018, SHB officially launched the Business Climate Action Toolkit (BCAT), a free online resource-hub, equipping businesses with sector-specific resources, case studies, tools and support services to facilitate action on climate change opportunities and risks. While local businesses want to fight climate change, they often lack the time and direction required to deal with a complex, global issue. This toolkit meets businesses ‘where they are’ in the development of their climate risk management strategy.
Key Sustainability Initiatives in Burlington
Since the Climate Emergency Declaration was passed, the City is working even harder towards becoming a net carbon neutral community. The City’s Community Energy Plan from 2014 will transition to the new Climate Action Plan. In addition, here are some of the key initiatives currently underway:
• The development of a community Climate Action Plan
• Updating of the Sustainable Building and Development Guidelines
• Supporting active transportation opportunities through infrastructure improvements and community engagement
• Enhancing our tree canopy with a neighbourhood tree by-law and local tree planting events
Collaborating with other municipalities, agencies and organizations, the City is strengthening its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy and improve community resiliency. The goal is to offer a better quality of life and a greener planet for future generations.