Requesting support to review the City's Property Standards By-law with a biodiversity/nature-based solutions lens.
Vince started by providing some history of the Friends of Sheldon Creek. He started by organizing creek clean-ups as his property backs onto the creek and he was concerned about its condition. He supports climate action plan but recommends the city also declare a biodiversity crisis and develop a strategy. He noted that there are 48 endangered species in Halton Region. Environmental toxification is another issue with varying sources including industry; roads/salt; lawn and agricultural fertilizers, among others.
He is recommending that the SDC review the property standards by-law. The definition of naturalized areas needs to be reviewed. It would be helpful to have a program to review and approve naturalized gardens (vs properties that are neglected). Standing water definition is another issue to review as its restricts wetlands on private property. Vince is only available to help until April.
He noted that there is lots of expertise in the community, including the RBG. Friends of Sheldon Creek has received a Watershed stewardship award from Conservation Halton for its work.
Vince also spoke about the importance of urban agriculture, noting that Burlington does have a community garden program. He sees lawns as opportunities to grow food. He showed the City of Philadelphia as an example where they have a community supported farm and market to grow food on private property and sell the food at a market.
He mentioned that Lorraine Johnson, a Toronto author (100 easy-to-grow native plants; City Farmer) has offered to help the city improve biodiversity. He noted that the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects has a document called "Grow me instead". Lynn noted that Lorraine has already been contact offering to help.
Follow-up discussion by SDC members: the committee agreed that these issues are important. There were questions about what is already happening in the community and the need to avoid duplication of efforts. Does the SDC have the resources right now given it has been unable to recruit new members due to the advisory committee review. It's possible that Awareness could work on some education initiatives.
Action: it was decided that the request would be referred to both sub-committees for review. P&D for the perspective of whether to review the property standards by-law and awareness for the perspective of taking on education/awareness raising initiatives.