Environmental Policies for Preservation of Our Natural Heritage

  1. A policy for maintaining, restoring and enhancing ecologically sustainable and resilient landscapes.
  2. Restoring or creating biodiversity within the natural heritage system. This will provide a more healthy and sustainable future to protect against disease and pests.
  3. A policy for the removal and monitoring of invasive species. With the filling of our aggregate pits, and residential needs to change the landscapes, soils from outside the municipality most be monitored to prevent the importing of invasive species.
  4. A policy to identify and reconcile with our natural heritage systems and how to preserve or create the connections with some of our more isolated systems.
  5. A policy to inventory our natural heritage systems. The need to study, maintain and update this information will show positive and negative impacts as development continues.
  6. A policy to look to a more ecological or ecosystem based planning. (This is vital to human well-being and to the health of our citizens).
  7. Planning Policies will be linked to include best practices for flood control, soil retention and enhancement, water purification, improved air quality and a resilience to the effects of climate change. This should be done at the neighbourhood level as well as connections at the larger community level and to the overall municipal level.
  8. Planning policies should also add the requirements for conservation to wildlife habitat, enhancement of our natural forest cover and the connectivity to the urban forest canopy cover.
  9. A policy to balance outdoor recreation activities and the continued preservation of our natural heritage systems. (These 2 may not go hand in hand with one another. Areas may have to be maintained as a “hands off” limits to human recreation to preserve the ecological function).
  10. 85% of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is covered under the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act 2002 and the Ontario Greenbelt Act 2005.  The town should fully recognize the Ontario’s Greenbelt Plan and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act. These Acts have the policies and system based methodology to preserving our natural heritage and our agricultural communities and the social and economic benefits that these communities provide. The Town should bring these visions down to the community level and base future development and recreational activities to recognize and adhere to the overall visions and goals of these Provincial Acts.
  11. A policy for an exhaustive educational program for its citizen to relay the requirements that are needed to preserve and enhance the natural heritage systems that the Town is in charge of. Citizen recognition will be front line for care and nurturing of our natural heritage into the future.
  12. Planning Policies should take into consideration the impacts of development to our natural heritage system and measures should be taken mitigate those impacts. Goals of “No negative impacts” should be clearly defined and developments need to show this before plans are accepted.
  13. Ongoing monitoring of our natural heritage systems should be taken. Positive impacts should be nurtured and negative impacts should be mitigated through policy and planning.
  14. Since our natural environment does not take municipal boarders into consideration, a policy for cross jurisdictional communication will lead to better Watershed or environmental understanding for enhanced natural heritage systems protection.
  15. Zoning Bylaws and Municipal Bylaws need to reflect the Towns willingness to protect and enhance our natural heritage systems. Preventing harm and destruction of our natural heritage systems from even the smallest trees to our forest woodlots to the overall natural heritage systems will help to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
  16. A policy to have meaningful and open consultation with property owners to try to negate any impacts to the natural heritage system. From the largest of development proposals to the individual property owners, talks to have our goals and visions met or even exceeded should be implemented.
  17. A policy to include meaningful dialogue with our Indigenous People wherever our Natural Heritage Systems will be impacted.
  18. A policy to include or classify urban trees and forests as Natural Capital Assets. This will allow us to see what our Urban Canopy is worth to the community in regards to Storm-water management, wildlife habitat, recreational values, and community health and well-being values and allow us to be eligible for infrastructure funding for municipalities from higher levels of government.

The goals of the policies would be targeted to these and many other initiatives;

  1. Green Roofs and Green Balcony Initiatives
  2. Reducing Towns Ecological Foot Print
  3. Alternative Fuel for Fleet Vehicles
  4. Anti Idling zones for Town Facilities
  5. Reduced Areas of grass and other lawn maintenance activities
  6. Alternative energy sources for Town Facilities
  7. Private Tree Bylaw to reduce the loss of mature trees within the Towns Secondary Plan areas
  8. Soil conservation bylaws to protect and enhance boulevard areas. Engineered Top Soils for boulevard and yard areas to increase tree growth, rainfall absorption and to reduce the need for watering and application of chemical fertilizers for lawn care.
  9. Alternative ground cover planting to reduce need for lawn care maintenance
  10. The use of Silva Cells and other engineered water and soil retention areas to maintain tree and shrub growth in smaller sites not suited for larger natural boulevard areas. Can be called neighbourhood Storm-water retention gardens or rain gardens
  11. Engaging local schools for student education and volunteer initiatives, examples
    1. Tree and shrub plantings
    1. Litter clean ups
  12. Invasive species plant removal initiatives.
  13. Enhance Community Garden initiatives
  14. Adopt a tree initiatives, or adopt a park initiatives.
  15. Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has not fully recognized the value of the Rouge River Water Shed and the Rouge Park for its ecological benefits. We can continue the 600 meter corridor of the Little Rouge River as is done in Markham or extend a 600 Meter corridor around the Main Rouge River.
  16. Look to nurture the social and economic values of a healthy natural heritage system. Our environment can help off-set any lack of economic prosperity that may come from the protection of natural environment. A healthy environmental community will show residents that there is more to life then shopping and working. This may lessen the preconceived notion that taxes are overwhelming and a sustainable community relies on development to meet the needs of its residents.     

There are a lot of initiatives that can be implemented to help achieve a healthy, sustainable and resilient communities.

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