Take Action Burlington: An Update on Our Local Environment – Land

On June 17, 2019 City of Burlington sustainability staff presented the Take Action Burlington – An Update on Our Local Environment to Council. This report provides an overview on the state of Burlington’s environment including information on local sustainability efforts and actions that can be taken. This is the second in a series of five blog posts about the report.

This post provides some highlights from the “Land” chapter of the report including climate change connections, what the city is doing and actions you can take.

Climate Change Connections

Climate change impacts include:

  • Hotter summer days and droughts;
  • Warmer average temperature in all seasons; and
  • More intense storms and temperature fluctuations.

Protecting greenspaces, such as parks, and increasing natural features, such as trees and green infrastructure, can help to reduce the impacts of climate change.

Tree damaged by ice storm
Tree damaged by the December 2013 Ice Storm.

What are we doing?

Land Use

  • Transitioning from low density housing, such as single and semi-detached homes, to medium and high density, such as town houses and apartments (which can support a more efficient transit system).
  • 16 buildings certified through Canada Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED); four of which are city buildings.
Illustration showing different levels achieved in the LEED certification program for community and city owned buildings
Buildings certified through Canada Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in Burlington.

Natural Heritage

  • 7,816 hectares of land protected as part of Burlington’s natural heritage system.
  • Over 70,000 trees are managed by the city’s Roads, Parks and Forestry department in urban and rural areas located near roadways and in manicured areas of parks. This does not include trees in woodlots, on land managed by others such as Conservation Halton or on private property.
  • The Roseland community is part of a two-year private tree bylaw pilot as of March 1, 2019.
  • Hundreds of trees planted in partnership with other groups including Conservation Halton, BurlingtonGreen and Halton Region.
  • The City is one of nine organizations working to reconnect, restore and protect 1,900 hectares of natural lands owned in the Hamilton-Burlington region as part of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System.
  • Since 2012, the City has closed a section of King Road for three-to-four weeks for the safe crossing of the endangered Jefferson salamanders during their spring breeding migration.
Jefferson Salamander
A Jefferson Salamander. Image courtesy of Conservation Halton.

Food and Farms

  • Five City-owned community gardens with 204 plots were available to residents and community groups in 2018. Additional gardens of various sizes operate across the city, including on faith lands, private land and school grounds.
  • Three farmers’ markets operate in Burlington and 15 farms sell directly to customers at on-site kiosks, stands and pick-your-own.
A young gardener tending to a community garden.
A young gardener tending to a community garden plot.

What can you do?

  • Plant a tree that is the right size and species for the location. Select a variety of trees in case of plant disease or infestation.
  • Volunteer on tree planting days.
  • Water the City tree next to your property during droughts.
  • Protect root zones of trees when making improvements to your home.
  • Replace lawns with native and drought tolerant plants that attract pollinators.
  • Try to keep the amount of paved areas on your property to a minimum. If possible, increase the greenspace.
  • Install a lighter-coloured roofing material to help counter the urban heat island effect.
  • Grow your own food to lower your carbon footprint. Don’t have the space or right conditions?
    • Apply for a community garden plot before Nov. 30 each year.
    • Go to a local farm to pick-your-own in-season local food or purchase directly from farmers at farmers’ markets.
  • Help protect our beach dunes. Walk on designated areas only and stay off the dunes.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on air, water and waste. You can also view a copy of the full report (pdf), the online story map or the first post about the report.

Take Action Burlington! Collectively we can make a difference.

People planting trees
A tree planting event in Burlington.

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