Seeing “Sustainability” Today

Have you ever experienced the phenomenon of declaring what you want without knowing how your dream will be fulfilled and then, all of sudden, the possibilities start to appear?   That has been happening to me these last couple weeks.

So what is my wish? A sustainability plan for King which truly drives and influences King’s evolution over the next 20 years.

And what are the possibilities I am now seeing?

On the Arts Society King “Locavore 20 km” bus tour on Saturday I saw some significant innovation; we need innovation, such as this,  if we are to become sustainable.  E.g.  At VanHart Greenhouses we were shown experiments in process to grow tomatoes in greenhouses without the usual support systems of fans powered by electricity.  E.g. At Silani Sweet Cheese we learned about the unique challenges of having a factory in a rural environment with no municipal water systems; they built and operate their own waste water facility.

People are showing that they want King to be sustainable.  At a recent public meeting in Nobleton plans were shown for a new shopping plaza.   Much of the feedback given could be summarized simply as “the proposal does not fit into a sustainable King.”  E.g. Design features promote the local community going to the grocery store in a car as opposed to walking with a bundle buggy.  E.g. No consideration for solar panels on all that new flat roof space.

Businesses are promoting recycle and re-use.  Black Forest Garden Centre had a big banner up asking people to bring in their garden pots.  Round The Bend takes back your garden pots and fruit & vegetable pint boxes etc.

The possibilities I have written about show me what it will take to be sustainable and/or what it will mean.

We have much to do to get our plan.  The task force (of which I am a member) and the working groups for each of the 4 pillars (economic, finance, socio-cultural and environment) are going through the critical preparatory work such as determining our current state, identifying and assessing possible action steps etc.

Very importantly we want to get your input.  If you have not been approached yet by a working group member to fill out our short survey please fill it out online.

And if you haven’t checked out the Sustainable King website yet please do so.  It’s an easy way to find out more about what sustainability means.


Greenbelt Expressway is not the way!

I am delighted to tell you that the Greenbelt Alliance has  categorically criticized the recommendation for a new highway in Vaughan as being the way to address the congestion between the urban growth centers as part of the GTA West Corridor.  Click here to read their statement.

In an earlier posting I told you that the stage 1 of the EA was completed and that a new highway was being proposed.  Along with Mayor Pellegrini I spoke at YR Committee of Transport arguing against a resolution to assess whether there was more harm to putting such a highway through the Oak Ridges Moraine or through the defined study area which included the east Humber.  At that time I indicated that the only sustainable solution was optimizing current road systems and expanding use of rail.  YR voted to not push for such an assessment.




Road Maintenance—poor decision making

How do you set priorities when you don’t have enough money to do everything?  Like many municipalities King has a huge backlog of road maintenance projects; I suspect our situation is particularly acute as we are responsible for a lot of local roads but our population base is small.  Over the years road maintenance in King has been ignored as long as possible.

To enable our priority setting we had a roads needs assessment conducted in spring 2011; from that there was definition of top 10 priorities.  Not surprisingly, we are unable to fund all 10.  But, very surprisingly we are doing none of the top 10!  55% ($300,000) of our budget for road maintenance is being allocated to provide surface treatment to the 8th concession south of Hwy 9 down to 15h SDRD. This road was assessed as being of  relatively low priority for work.

My opposition to this plan is about the principle, or lack thereof, in the decision making.  I do not agree with the stated rationale:  to return the road to the state it was prior to being pulverized two years ago.  Background:  the pulverization occurred because the road had deteriorated to the point that it could no longer be “patched” and no other solution was financially feasible; the Council of the day committed to surfacing when possible.  Since then some residents on the road have been delighted with being on a gravel road as there is less traffic; others are very distressed as their road had been paved and there is now more risk of damage to cars. (more…)

Emerald Ash Borer

Very unfortunately King will be joining the list of municipalities visited by the destructive emerald ash borer. Not only is the insect destructive, the control method is harsh:  cut the tree down!

York Region has released its management plan for trees in their responsibility. At 6/27 Council, Council endorsed Staff proposal to develop a plan for King Township i.e. for trees in our parks and along local roads.   Given our desire to increase our tree canopy our plan must include replacement.

YR estimates that over 10 years, their whole program including the cutting down of infected trees and tree replacement will cost $10-12 million.  To learn more about the York Region plan and to get more background click here to read the Staff recommendation tabled at Council.

As many residents, including myself, have ash trees we will need to become more knowledgable than we would prefer about this creature.  Here you can  see more photos of this invasive, destructive, alien, forest pest.


Metrolinx Report/Presentation to King Council

Of interest to current users and would-be users of public transit…… there is a special Committee of the Whole on Monday July 11th at 5PM in King Council Chambers.

Speaker:  Mr. Leslie Woo, Vice-President, Policy, Planning and Innovation, Metrolinx.

Topic:   “Metrolinx: Transforming Transit.”

Procedures are such that questions from the audience are not allowed.  If you have any specific questions please forward them to me and I will ask for you.

Here are my two critical questions.

What is the timeline for new GO station(s) between King City and Aurora?

What will be done to address the inadequate parking at King City GO?