Currently Browsing: Debbie in the Community

Sustainability…what our new houses could be

There is so much we could do IF we had the political will and/or if as individuals we would accept our responsibility to act.  There are solutions “out there.”  What has precipitated this rant on my part?  I took a tour of the Green Home in Richmond Hill (213 Coon’s Road; NW of King Rd & Yonge).

Some of its features:   tankless water heater, solar heat assist to help warm the hot water, insulation far beyond Ontario building code, solar electric energy to feed the grid, energy efficient lighting (motion activated in bathrooms, CFL and LED lighting), grey water system (shower and bath water recycled to toilets), permeable pavements, PET carpets (recycled pop bottles) and more.   You can learn more by visiting Green Home website and you go on Saturdays and Sundays to tour it yourself.

One of the first steps in the ICSP (integrated community sustainability plan) is to paint the picture of what we want King to be in 20-30 years,  to create a vision.  In 20-30 years I want someone to say to me:  “You live in King don’t you?  Isn’t that where there is all that beautiful rolling landscape?  And isn’t that where all the newer sections of the villages feature homes built with the best early 21st century technologies to minimize impact on environment and where the earlier homes are steadily renovating to match these improvements. You must be so proud…and you are so lucky!”

Perhaps even more valuable than the showcasing of some of the current technical solutions, the Green Home is going to be monitored for 3 years and tracked against a same sized house with the basic Energy Star features.  The monitoring project is being done collaboratively with Ryerson.

The selected photo shows the techniques used in the Green Home to enable rain and storm water runoff to reach the water tables.  Specifically it shows the permeable pavements and infiltration galleries.  (The latter is river stone in combination with underlying granular material; there are plans to add drought resistant plantings.)  Also note the continued use of the rain barrel!

Earth Rangers Centre

In a separate post I talked about visiting the Green Home in Richmond Hill.  I was well primed for seeing it –a real actual house in a subdivision with “green” features– as a week earlier I was given a tour of the Earth Rangers Centre on the Kortright Living City Campus.

It is an advanced green building, certified Gold under LEED for new construction; and application has been made for platinum.  It is a showcase of cutting edge building technology such as energy metering, smart automation and controls, innovative water and waste water management, solar generation, green roofs, and geothermal heating and cooling.

A tour of the Earth Rangers Centre makes it clear that the Green Home, although very exciting, is just the beginning of how we can reduce our impact on the environment.

If you are like me and didn’t know about the Earth Rangers Centre do have a look at the website…as a 1st step.

Roads: building new ones

Has a new road ever really solved a traffic congestion problem?  No.  And despite that this is proven over and over we continue to create new rivers of pavement and pour million of dollars into first building new roads and then maintaining them with the goal of enabling more traffic to flow more effectively.

The Province has identified the need to improve the connection between Vaughan City Centre and Guelph.  As I, like many others, have experienced the constant almost uninterrupted flow of trucks moving east/west on the 401 the need “to do something” is accepted. At the outset of this project, the new corridor (called the GTA West Corridor) was described as being either a rail one or a road one; sadly but not unexpectedly a road option has been selected. (more…)

Unexpected Rich Experiences

When I decided to run for a Councillor position I had a pretty good idea about the “work” although the specifics were a little vague.  One aspect I did not appreciate was the amount and variety of “extracurricular” activities to which I would be invited.

To date my criteria for selection has been either one of familiarity and a passion for the issue; or, little familiarity and the desire to learn more.  3 events attended (or to be attended) in April and May illustrate the scope very well.

Thursday May 26 I will be attending a symposium in King City on ‘Loyalty To Country’  hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Maple.  Speakers will be from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths.  The intent is to provide a a forum to increase understanding of different religions in our community, share knowledge, promote tolerance and work towards living in peace and harmony which is the prime objective of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. I am honoured to have been asked to fulfill the role of moderator at the symposium.The event is being held at King City Public School; registration is at 6:30PM.  For more information about the event read here. (more…)

Are small changes ever truly “small?”

There are now two active cases in Ward 1 which appear to be very small in terms of numbers; but, one as to ask whether the impact, the long term strategic impact is small?    Two houses here, three houses there on lands currently not zoned for residential housing and on lands of environmental significance; what is the significance?

1st case–As I reviewed in an earlier posting there is a proposal to permit two residences to be built on two parcels of land which are effectively “peninsulas poking into the Environmental Protection Area of King City.” Currently per the York Region Official Plan the two parcels are zoned rural and as such non-farm residential is prohibited.

2nd case–At May 16 Council a Public Meeting is being held to initiate the public process for assessing an application to re-designate property from transitional zoning to a zoning enabling 3 residential lots on the south side of Wellington St. in Snowball.  In our Hamlet Secondary Plan the subject lands are designated Hazard Lands and Oak Ridges Moraine Countryside Area; it is within the Oak Ridges Moraine (more…)