Climate Change Policy Paper

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Download the Climate Change Policy Paper.

Background

Planning for climate change mitigation and adaptation can reduce the risks and impacts of climate change on communities, businesses, crops, and infrastructure. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change defines climate change in Article 1 as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”.

The province has identified climate change as a priority, and it released its Ontario Climate Change Strategy in 2015 and Ontario Climate Change Action Plan in 2016. The province provides policy direction regarding consideration of the impacts of climate change on infrastructure and land use patterns.

At the Township level, the impacts of climate change are already apparent, including changes to precipitation and temperature patterns, changes in air quality, increased flooding, and erosion. Risks to human health and property are becoming more prominent as uncertainty grows surrounding climate conditions in the short term and long term.

Municipalities have a key role to play in climate change mitigation and adaptation, by directing land use in the built and natural environment to support development of efficient, compact, sustainable communities. New planning policies are required to address climate change mitigation and adaptation which: consider the role and value of natural systems, support energy conservation/efficiency, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to public health and safety objectives.

Proposed Objectives

The following objectives are those which are being considered for the new Township of Adjala-Tosorontio Official Plan. They have been developed through an examination of existing Official Plan objectives and principles, review of the Adjala-Tosorontio Community-Based Strategic Plan, and input received from council, the public, agencies, and Tonwship staff.

To consider the impacts of climate change on development and land use patterns, and new or expanded infrastructure.

To promote development forms and patterns which support energy conservation and efficiency, improved air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change adaptation.

To support achievement of complete communities that mitigate climate change impacts, build resilience, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute towards the achievement of net zero communities; and integrate green infrastructure and low impact development

To enable the use of alternative transportation modes in and between residential, employment, commercial, and other land uses.

To work with the province and the county, where feasible and desirable, to support implementation of Ontario’s Climate Change Strategy and Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan

Proposed Policies

The following policies are those which are being considered for the new Township of Adjala-Tosorontio Official Plan. They have been developed through:

  • Reviewing existing Official Plan policies and updating them to comply with new provincial and county policy requirements
  • Input received from council, the public, agencies, and Tonwship staff

Policies that have been strictly mandated by the province or county appear in bold whereas those that have been municipally derived appear in plain text.

 

The Township shall consider potential impacts of climate change that may increase the risk associated with natural hazards. (PPS 3.1.3)

Energy conservation and efficiency, improved air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change adaptation shall be supported through land use and development patterns which:

  • promote compact form and a structure of nodes and corridors;
  • promote the use of active transportation in and between residential, employment and institutional uses and other areas;
  • improve the mix of employment and housing uses to shorten commute journeys and decrease transportation congestion;
  • promote design and orientation which: maximizes energy efficiency and conservation, and considers the mitigating effects of vegetation; and maximizes opportunities for the use of renewable energy systems and alternative energy systems; and
  • maximize vegetation within settlement areas, where feasible. (PPS 1.8.1)

Development and land use patterns that conserve biodiversity, consider the ecological benefits provided by nature, and consider the impacts of a changing climate, should be promoted. (PPS 1.1.1.h) & (PPS 1.7.1)

Land use patterns in settlement areas shall be based on densities and a mix of land uses which minimize negative impacts to air quality and climate change, and promote energy efficiency (PPS 1.1.3.2)

Infrastructure, electricity generation facilities and transmission and distribution systems, and public service facilities shall be provided in a coordinated, efficient and cost-effective manner that considers impacts from climate change while accommodating projected needs (PPS 1.6.1)

The Township will plan for new or expanded infrastructure in an integrated manner, supported by infrastructure master plans, asset management plans, community energy plans, watershed planning, environmental assessments and other relevant studies where appropriate. The impacts of a changing climate should be considered. (Growth Plan 2016 3.2.1.2.d)

As part of municipal asset management, the Township will assess infrastructure vulnerability and identify priority actions and investments to increase infrastructure resilience and adapt to a changing climate (Growth Plan 2016 3.2.1.4)

The Township shall promote the use of green infrastructure to compliment infrastructure (PPS 1.6.2)

The potential impacts of climate change that may increase the risk associated with natural hazards shall be considered (PPS 3.1.3 & County OP 4.5.13)

The Township encourages:

(a) development of strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve resilience to climate change through land use planning, planning for infrastructure, and conservation of water and energy, air quality improvement, and integrated waste management approaches; (Growth Plan 2016 4.2.10)

(b) development of greenhouse gas inventories for transportation, buildings, waste management and municipal operations; (Growth Plan 2016 4.2.10)

(c) establishment of municipal interim and long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction targets that support provincial targets and reflect consideration of the goal of net-zero communities, and monitor and report on progress made towards the achievement of these targets. This may be achieved through development of Community Energy Plans and Climate Action Plans with greenhouse gas pollution inventories (Growth Plan 2016 4.2.10 & Ontario Climate Change Action Plan 2.2)

(d) reduction of greenhouse gas pollution and improvement of public health by working with the province, where feasible and desirable, to implement the province’s objectives for improved commuter cycling networks and facilities, having regard for the Ontario Climate Change Action Plan (Ontario Climate Change Action Plan 3.1)

The Township may require electric vehicle charging stations in surface lots, which for the purposes of this policy, may be defined as any dedicated, paved vehicle parking facilities which are at-grade and not within a parking structure (Ontario Climate Change Action Plan 1.1.1)

The Township may adopt green development standards, by by-law, related to green standards in areas other than building construction (Ontario Climate Change Action Plan 1.1.2)

The Township may consider eliminating or reducing minimum parking requirements (Ontario Climate Change Action Plan 1.4)

Proposed Definitions

Green infrastructure: means natural and humanmade elements that provide ecological and hydrological functions and processes. Green infrastructure can include components such as natural heritage features and systems, parklands, stormwater management systems, street trees, urban forests, natural channels, permeable surfaces, and green roofs. (PPS, 2014)

Alternative Energy System: A system that uses sources of energy or energy conversion processes to produce power, heat and/or cooling that significantly reduces the amount of harmful emissions to the environment (air, earth and water) when compared to conventional energy systems. (PPS, 2014)

Low Impact Development: An approach to stormwater management that seeks to manage rain and other precipitation as close as possible to where it falls in order to mitigate the impacts of increased runoff and stormwater pollution. It comprises a set of site design strategies and distributed, small scale structural practices to mimic the natural hydrology to the greatest extent possible through infiltration, evapotranspiration, harvesting, filtration and detention of stormwater. Low impact development can include: bio-swales, permeable pavement, rain gardens, green roofs and exfiltration systems. Low impact development often employs vegetation and soil in its design, however, that does not always have to be the case. (Proposed Growth Plan, 2016)

Net-Zero Communities: Communities that meet their energy demand through low-carbon or carbon-free forms of energy and offset, preferably locally, and releases of greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be eliminated. Net-zero communities include a higher density built form, and mixed-use development patterns that ensure energy efficiency, reduce distances travelled, and improve integration with transit, energy, water and wastewater systems. (Proposed Growth Plan, 2016)

Renewable Energy System: A system that generates electricity, heat and/or cooling from a renewable energy source. For the purposes of this definition: a renewable energy source is an energy source that is renewed by natural processes and includes wind, water, biomass, biogas, biofuel, solar energy, geothermal energy and tidal forces. (PPS, 2014).

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