On March 26th the Green Infrastructure Ontario (GIO) and Ecojustice released Health, Prosperity and Sustainability: The Case for Green Infrastructure in Ontario to Queen’s Park. The report outlines the benefits of adopting a cohesive green infrastructure policy, as New York City and the State of Illinois have done. In particular, the report estimates millions could be saved in traditional infrastructure costs, in addition to savings in health care from improved health and well-being, improved productivity, and climate adaptability. The report also estimates significant job creation and improved property values from the adoption of a cohesive green infrastructure provincial policy. Concrete suggestions on ways forward, as well as the necessary political and policy changes to achieve an integrated green infrastructure policy, are some of the key strengths of the report. You can find out more about the GIO coalition here, and download the report for free here.
The Catholic School Board of Toronto has been lobbying councillors and staff to exempt them from the green roof requirement of the By-law for nine new projects, arguing instead that they be allowed to install white or reflective roofs and hold 5mm of rain rather than a green roof. This is the same argument used by the industrial sector to exempt them from the Green Roof By-Law, for the second time since the By-Law was introduced.
While the green roof By-law remained relatively unscathed so far under the current Mayor Ford’s ideologically-conservative cost-cutting measures, the political climate has been tense and divisive and has focused on trying to preserve existing social services and environmental measures from cuts, rather than city-building and looking forward. This means that it is unlikely that there will be any expansion of the green roof By-law, or any environmental initiative, under the current political leadership.