Borden The Hamilton Spectator
Mayor Rob MacIsaac hosted a Citizens Smart Growth Forum. According to
a February Spectator article, "the forum would provide residents
with an opportunity to respond to such immediate issues as the proposed
mid-peninsula highway and the preservation of the city's urban-rural
will help make an impact on some of the most important decisions facing
Burlington today," Mayor MacIsaac says. "The main concept
behind smart growth is to manage urban sprawl and to create communities
that offer access to parks, shops, neighbourhood centres, and amenities
that are close to homes and transit. Continued growth, and the proper
management of that growth, is essential for Burlington's future prosperity."
members of the Burlington Sustainable Development Committee (SDC) attended
an information session on curbing urban sprawl hosted by the Federation
of Ontario Naturalists (FON).
informative booklet, produced by FON, titled A Smart Future For Ontario
-- how to protect nature and curb urban sprawl in your community
was distributed to all attendees. The SDC subsequently distributed copies
to the Mayor and City Councillors.
from the booklet: "If we do not plan smarter, there will come a
time when our environment cannot sustain itself ecologically with an
ever-larger population using more and more natural resources. Each region's
natural systems can withstand only a certain level of human intervention
and abuse without one or more parts collapsing. The Golden Horseshoe
is rapidly reaching its ecological limits to growth. The strains are
being felt already in reduced green spaces, traffic gridlock, unhealthy
air quality from motor vehicle and industrial emissions, and polluted
beaches from overloaded sewage systems."
that building more highways does not and cannot relieve congestion in
the long term. Road planning must be carried out as an integral part
of smart municipal planning, and transportation networks need to be
planned at a regional scale. We cannot afford to repeat past and even
current practices of building new highways to allow vehicles to reach
their destinations more quickly, and then letting new, sprawling communities
sprout up all along the new highways.
can and should be planned around key transit nodes such as bus terminals
and train stations. Moderate and high density housing with offices,
retail stores and nearby services should be concentrated at strategic
points along regional transit systems. This development pattern ensures
a higher degree of transit use and less car use than would be the case
in sprawl areas.
believes that the preservation of farmland is critical to the future
of Ontario. Food production near major urban centres helps promote our
food self-sufficiency. Farmlands provide important wildlife habitat
and allow rainwater and snowmelt to percolate into the ground, recharging
groundwater supplies and preventing downstream flooding.
in the physical infrastructure of existing communities assists in maintaining
our quality of life. Redevelopment of abandoned industrial lands --
or brownfields -- can help reduce development pressures in the countryside
and reduce infrastructure costs. Rehabilitating existing buildings can
help boost the local economy and boost civic pride. By cleaning up former
industrial lands, and developing them for housing and other uses, pressures
to develop rural areas can be reduced.
to the FON, smart growth gives people more options about where and how
they live in a community of their choice. A mixed and adaptable housing
stock meets the needs of evolving households. Affordable housing is
necessary to ensure that urban areas remain vibrant and that people
can live close to their workplaces. Each community needs to provide
a range of housing options for different incomes, ages and family needs.
is the vision FON has for a smarter, nature-first Ontario.
- We enjoy
clean air, clean water, clean and fertile soil and abundant natural
habitats, all of which benefit both wildlife and people.
- A high
priority is placed on protection of healthy ecosystems and watersheds,
with well-functioning woodlands, wetlands, waterways and populations
of native plant and animal species.
- In settled
parts of Ontario (largely in the south), an ecosystem-based web of
core natural areas is fully connected by natural corridors and protected
for the long term through municipal land-use plans, co-ordinated at
the regional and inter-regional level.
- An integrated
transportation network -- public transit, roads, and provision for
bicycling and walking opportunities allows people choices for travelling
seamlessly both within and between urban centres.
of all urban areas (towns and cities with more than 10,000 people)
have access to convenient, affordable public transit, so that automobile
use is dramatically reduced and air quality improves significantly.
transportation, while still relying on highways as one component,
involves a revival of rail, both for passenger travel and to haul
freight. Towns and cities across Ontario are linked by light rail
and bus transit connections, which allow travel that does not necessarily
pass through downtown cores. An inter-regional transportation authority
is established to oversee and implement the system.
are walkable and bikeable, with most daily needs for moving around
the community met within a short distance from home, regardless of
transportation mode used.
resident of an Ontario community has access, by either public or private
transportation, to a natural area within a short distance in the community,
to learn about and enjoy wild nature.
are planned so that there is attractive, compact, affordable housing
available to all.
and their farms thrive, protected from urban encroachment through
firm urban boundaries, and with provincial and federal farm policies
that encourage and promote environmentally sustainable agricultural
Smart Growth Forum is a positive step towards fulfilling one of FON's
main premises, "Community participation is critical to the creation
of smart new developments within existing urban borders. Consensus has
a chance to be forged when all concerned parties are part of the process
of community development."
meetings of the city's Sustainable Development Committee are open to
the public. For information, call 905-335-7600 ext 7933 or by checking
the city's Web site at www.city.burlington.on.ca under City Services.