Whereas there is an opportunity for the City of Burlington in partnership with Conservation Halton, Royal Botanical Gardens and the City of Hamilton on a Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) to protect our natural assets in the Grindstone Creek area of our Greenbelt; and
Whereas the project would support and guide municipalities in identifying, valuing and accounting for natural assets in their financial planning and asset management programs and developing leading-edge, sustainable, cost-effective and climate resilient infrastructure. The program will assist participating organizations to better manage our infrastructure and natural assets in the face of climate change, development pressures, and increasing challenges associated with asset management. It also presents an opportunity to leverage financial contributions as the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is also contributing funds; and
Whereas MNAI recently partnered with the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and is soliciting expressions of interest for up to 7 smaller/rural local governments (as attached) to host a pilot project located in a watershed area within or originating within Ontario’s Greenbelt. Through this project, MNAI offers guidance and support through scientific, financial and municipal services management expertise. Partners are expected to commit to the approach, provide in-kind multi-disciplinary staff support, provide data, designate a project/partner lead, commit a total of $105, 000 (split among the partners), and participate in evaluation interviews/follow up exercises for 3 years after the close of the project; and
Whereas Conservation Halton has reviewed the Expression Of Interest (EOI) and is interested in partnering on a pilot project for either the Grindstone Creek (preferred) or Bronte Creek, both of which originate in the Greenbelt and flow through rural portions of Burlington and Hamilton. Grindstone Creek is preferred as this includes Hamilton, downstream lands in Burlington and the RBG; and
Whereas; Conservation Halton would be the lead and costs would be shared. Further information about the initiative is in the attached letter from Conservation Halton (Appendix A); and
Whereas total funding from City of Burlington up to the amount of $35,000 is to be provided from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund; and
Whereas this initiative dovetails nicely with our ongoing work on climate change adaptation and mitigation and can be integrated into existing staff work programs. It is one of the initiatives mentioned in a handout we received at our Climate Change workshop from the speaker from the Intact Centre for Climate Adaptation (see document “Combatting Canada’s Rising Flood Costs” via natural infrastructure), produced in partnership with the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation; and
Whereas there is some urgency to indicating our interest to participate, as there is no formal intake period, but the EOI period will close as soon as suitable candidates are found. A copy of the EOI is attached as Appendix B MNAI can be found at https://mnai.ca.; and
Whereas I believe this program represents an opportunity for the city to continue our efforts to be flood resilient and protect our natural assets and infrastructure.
Now therefore be it resolved:
That Council endorse an Expression of Interest to participate in the MNAI program, including related financial and staff commitment; and
That Council authorize the Executive, Director of Capital Works and related departments to work with Conservation Halton and other parties to complete the application; and
That upon passage of this resolution, city staff continue discussions with counterpart staff at the City of Hamilton and Royal Botanical Garden to seek their participation in the program.