In 1990, the City of Burlington declared itself a sustainable development community: a community that is in harmony with its environment and strives to provide its citizens with safe, comfortable livelihoods. The Burlington Sustainable Development Committee (SDC) was subsequently established as a volunteer citizen committee appointed by Burlington City Council to advise on issues that relate to sustainable development.
The members of the Sustainable Development Committee come from a variety of backgrounds including architects, biologists, business people, developers, engineers, musicians, planners, stay-at-home parents, university students, and more. Their common ground is their passion to minimize impacts on the environment and the belief that the City of Burlington is a great place to live, work and play. Members promote the Principles and Objectives of Sustainable Development and advise and assist city staff and Council members on environmental issues. They do this by organizing workshops, submitting position papers to Council and producing educational videos.
In June, a celebratory event was held to recognize the committee’s 25th anniversary. Current and past members met to reminisce about their long list of accomplishments. One accomplishment they are particularly proud of is their advocacy in the mid 2000’s for a proposed major new retailer to Burlington to install a geothermal heating and cooling system along with other energy saving and environmental features. The retailer was Walmart and this became their first environmental demonstration store.
Additional accomplishments include:
In 1998, the SDC published their first State of the Environment Report (SOER) providing information on the state and the health of Burlington’s environment and made recommendations for improving it. This year, their fifth report was completed www.burlington.ca/soer.
- In 1999, they campaigned about anti-idling and pesticide use and recommended bylaws for both. The City launched an idling campaign in 2003 and introduced a bylaw in 2004. The Province implemented a ban against the cosmetic use of pesticides in 2009.
In 2000, they began a pilot household battery recycling program to divert batteries from the landfill. They received a Conservation Halton Award for this program and for their SOER in 2002. The availability of disposal bins for household batteries is now widespread at city facilities and beyond.
- In 2006, they hosted the first of many public seminars at Burlington Central Library.
- In 2007, they established criteria for a green Civic Rose Award and participated in the judging and awards ceremony.
- In 2012, they created the Green Business Award with the Mayor’s Office through the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.
Please visit the Burlington Sustainable Development Committee’s webpage at www.burlington.ca/sdc to view additional accomplishments. They have done a lot in the past 25 years but they believe there is still more work to be done and will continue to review and comment on city policies, reports and issues and advocate for a sustainable and a healthy environment.