Who We Are
The members of the Burlington Sustainable Development Committee are volunteer citizens who have been appointed by Council to advise on issues that relate to sustainable development. During the day, we are, or have been, architects, biologists, business people, developers, engineers, musicians, planners, stay-at-home parents, university students and more. Our common ground is our passion to minimize impacts on the environment and the belief that the City of Burlington is a great place to live, work and play.
What We Do
Our role in the community is to promote the Principles and Objectives of Sustainable Development (PDF) and to advise and assist City staff and Council members on these issues. We do this by organizing conferences and workshops, submitting position papers to Council and producing videos.
Visit our display and learn about our committee and environmental initiatives taking place.
Burlington Public Library - Central Branch, 2331 New St.
Sept. 30 - Oct. 7
|Presentations and Display||
The Burlington Sustainable Development Committee are hosting an event targeted to members of the general public. Topics discussed by guest speakers will include ground source heat pumps (geothermal), air source heat pumps, and solar energy for the home. Informational displays will also be set up. Stay tuned for further details. www.burlington.ca/sdc
Nov. 16, 7-9 p.m.
Burlington Public Library, 2331 New St.
Terms of Reference
View the Terms of Reference (PDF) for this committee.
| Committee Members|
Chair: Gareth Williams
Vice Chair: Tim Park
Councillor Paul Sharman
Lynn Robichaud, Sr. Sustainability Coordinator-Staff Representative
905-335-7600, ext. 7931
This committee meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month in City Hall at 7 p.m. (subject to change). For meeting dates and times please refer to our online Calendar.
Agenda and Minutes
What is Sustainable Development?
Who we are and what we do is the easy part. Defining sustainable development is a much more difficult task.
For many people, sustainable development seems to be a contradiction of terms. How can we maintain what we have if we continue to develop? That seeming contradiction is at the root of the difficulty in providing a concise, all-encompassing definition of sustainable development. Changes in the community are inevitable. However, to preserve and improve the natural environment and the quality of life for its residents, change and development of the community must be well planned after giving consideration to a wide variety of issues.
The definition of Sustainable Development we use most often is that put forth by the United Nations Brundtland Commission on the Environment and Development: "Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
We hope this brief definition gives you an idea of what this committee hopes to achieve.
State of the Environment Report V (PDF)
State of the Environment Report IV (PDF)
Committee Agendas and Minutes
Green Book List (PDF)
25 Year History of the Burlington Sustainable Development Committee
In 1990, Alderman Jim Ryan reported to council, recommending the establishment of the Sustainable Development Committee. It followed the work of a task force with representation from council and staff, who considered the meaning of sustainable development and the purpose and function of a sustainable development committee. Eleven recommendations were made in the report and it included a "Proclamation for a Sustainable Development Committee".
The role of this multi-sectoral citizens' committee was to foster dialogue and awareness of sustainable development and to develop methods of integrating economic and environmental planning at the local level.
The revised Principles and Objectives of Sustainable Development were adopted by Burlington City Council in November 1994 to promote and implement Sustainable Development in the City of Burlington. This made Burlington one of the few municipalities in Canada to have adopted such principles and objectives.
Twenty-five years has passed since the formation of the committee. Over the years, the committee has worked to advise council and engage the community on sustainable development issues.
The committee structure has remained constant over 25 years with 15 community volunteers and a council representative. The Senior Sustainability Coordinator, the Sustainability Project Coordinator, and the Environmental Planner act as staff advisors to the committee.
|View Accomplishments by the Sustainable Development Committee|
The Sustainable Development Committee has established a long list of accomplishments since 1990, including:
- Held a workshop on storm water management at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters.
- Developed the first draft of the Principles and Objectives of Sustainable Development.
- Recommended to council that grass clippings be banned from garbage pick-up.
- Requested council to petition the Minister responsible for Canada Post to amend the Postal Act to allow Canadians to refuse unsolicited direct mail.
- Hosted a workshop entitled "Ecosystem Approach to Land Use". Speakers included: Suzanne Barrett (Waterfront Regeneration Trust); Stephen Lewis (Chair of the First International Conference on Climate Change); Tom Muir (Environment Canada); George Penfold (Commissioner, Planning & Development Reform in Ontario); Mel Iovio (Director of Planning, Town of Ancaster); and Stephen Garrod (Lawyer).
- Released a report on a User-Pay System for Garbage Collection.
- Held a one-day conference called "Partners in Our Future: Business, the Environment, and Students". Speakers included: Severn Cullis-Suzuki (Student, Vancouver) and Paddy Carson (VP Environmental Affairs, Loblaw Co. Ltd.). Nine sessions were held on related topics.
- Council adopted the Principles and Objectives of Sustainable Development.
- Created the "Changes" video on living sustainably.
- Implemented a creek monitoring program for Grindstone Creek with Aldershot High School and support from McMaster University. McMaster trained the students to collect samples from the creek, who presented results to the Sustainable Development Committee (SDC).
- Developed criteria for the city's environmental civic recognition award.
- The "Changes" video won the Canadian National Sportsmen's Show Award for Environmental Writing - Award of Merit from the Outdoor Writers of Canada; and also the Silver Ace award for Advertising and Creative Excellence.
- Created a webpage for the SDC, linked to the city's page.
- Developed a display of photographs to be used at community events.
- Presentation to the committee by Ken Ogilvie, Executive Director of Pollution Probe, on the history of Pollution Probe; provided copies of "A Strategy for Sustainable Transportation in Ontario".
- Participated in a multi-group workshop on sustainable development at McMaster University for Earth Day.
- The chair presented to a Chilean trade mission on the role of the committee.
- Presentation to the committee by Green Venture staff on their work in Hamilton.
- Participated in a visioning session at the Discovery Centre in Dundas Valley; developed a mission statement and strategies to achieve the sustainable development objectives.
- Presented the first State of the Environment Report to Council.
- Contributed articles to the Hamilton Spectator on sustainability issues (intro to sustainable development; composting, water conservation, etc.).
- Assisted Notre Dame HS to purchase a spectrophotometer for creek monitoring.
- Began an anti-idling campaign including designing a poster, newspaper articles and ads, and participating in radio and television interviews.
- Recommended an anti-idling by-law to council.
- Continued writing articles for the Hamilton Spectator (green resolutions; being green all year long; making Burlington a better place to live, etc.).
- Hosted Sustainable Community Week events with a tire amnesty day; sustainable picnic in the square; recycling bean bag toss and contest.
- Donated 30 blue recycling barrels to the city.
- Presented to council advocating for a by-law against the spraying of pesticides.
- Presentation to the committee by John Ferguson from the office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario on the Ontario Bill of Rights.
- Began a household battery recycling campaign as a pilot project to divert batteries from the landfill.
- Celebrated Sustainable Community Week with a tour of green business and sustainable housing.
- Designed a poster thanking citizens for taking the bus, placed on the outside of five Burlington buses and inside all buses.
- Presented the State of the Environment Report at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in London.
- Researched diesel and natural gas bus emissions.
- Produced a new brochure about the committee.
- Continued the battery recycling program.
- Participated in Ontario Municipal Board hearings for the Alton community and the Imperial Oil gas station (Upper Middle and Appleby Line).
- Continued providing articles to the Hamilton Spectator and participated in the Oakville Eco Festival.
- Developed labels to encourage the re-use of envelopes.
- Partnered with the Burlington Community Foundation to host an Environmental Roundtable at the Royal Botanical Gardens.
- Presented and assisted with a public forum on reducing the use of pesticides.
- Received a Conservation Halton Award for the battery recycling project and the State of the Environment Report.
- Participated in the Oakville Ecofestival and the Greening Your Garden Conference.
- Developed a database of various waste reduction and conservation opportunities in Burlington.
- Participated in the first Green Garden Forum (RBG), Halton Eco Festival (Oakville) and Canada Day festival.
- Supported the city's Healthy Green Spaces Strategy.
- Participated in a number of groups: Halton Partners for Clean Air; Anti-idling committee; Environmental Management Team; Bay Area Restoration Council; COPE; CONE; Naturalization sub-committee and the Hamilton Remedial Action Plan.
- Presented the second State of the Environment Report to council.
- Completed the battery recycling pilot project with a report to council.
- Participated in the Green Gardening Forum; Halton Eco Festival; Canada Day; and Pesticide Exchange.
- Participated on the Healthy Green Spaces and Naturalization Committee.
- Published four articles in the Burlington Post (Six steps to natural lawn care; responsible weed control; low flush toilet blues; and I'm dreaming of a green Christmas) and produced a paper on solar hot water heating.
- Participated in a rehabilitation project for Tuck Creek by the Billings Court Seniors' Residence with the Field & Stream Rescue Team, as well as the design and installation of gardens adjacent to the residences.
- Participated in the Official Plan review process.
- Participated on a number of city and regional environmental committees.
- Hosted the 15th anniversary for Sustainable Development Committee alumni.
- Hosted the first public seminar at Central Library on Natural Lawn Care (107 in attendance). A second was also held on Energy Conservation.
- Participated in the Halton Eco Fest.
- Created a storm sewer model to engage citizens on how to reduce pollution entering the city's storm sewer system, outletting into the creeks and lake.
- Four articles were published in the Burlington Post (Natural Lawn Care; Crabgrass Wars - Organically Please; Living Roofs; and Conserving Energy and Home Savings).
- Provided comments on the proposed Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Places to Grow) and Conservation Halton policies.
- Presented a summary of LEEDTM criteria to the Community Development Committee for consideration, encouraging the city to use LEED for their own facilities, like the Performing Arts Centre (achieved LEED Gold certification).
- Hosted two seminars at Burlington Public Library - Central Branch: one on Organic Gardening and the other on the Inconvenient Truth, with discussion.
- Participated in the Halton Eco Fest.
- Four newspaper articles were published in the Burlington Post (R-Value of Insulation; When Planning your Garden this Spring - think Wild; Home Owners need to Flush 1980s Technology; and Easy Tips Offered for a Greener Christmas).
- Produced a paper on native plants.
- Established criteria for a green Civic Rose Award and participated in judging and awards ceremony.
- Developed a checklist for the most important LEED criteria.
- Participated in the Niagara to GTA Corridor Study stakeholder committee.
- Presented the 3rd State of the Environment Report at a strategic plan workshop and to Council.
- Presentations made to the committee included: Sustainable Urban Development Association; Town of East Gwillimbury (LEED and Energy Star development); Town of Markham and Local Food Plus (Zero Waste and Local Food programs); a LEED Consultant (green buildings); and a resident on plastic bottled water and plastic bags.
- Presented SOER III to the Halton Environmental Network.
- Commented on the provincial legislation to restrict the use of cosmetic pesticides.
- Participated in the Niagara to GTA Corridor Study; Cootes to Escarpment Conservation and Land Management Study and the Transit Advisory Committee.
- Hosted three library seminars (An Inconvenient Truth with Walter Palmer; the GreenCart; and Water Efficiency).
- Participated in the YMCA Eco-event (Y Go Green?) and visited Whole Village in Caledon to observe a sustainable community (founded by a former member of the SDC.
- Created the new SDC logo.
- Judged the green garden award and participated in the awards ceremony for the Civic Rose Award.
- Created two posters related to water and local food based on SOER III.
- Toured local green buildings - MEC and Wal-mart (Fairview).
- Supported city initiatives such as community gardens, zero waste, and anti-idling.
- Advocated to council for free parking for environmentally friendly vehicles downtown, reducing the use of bottled water in city facilities and implementation of zero waste initiatives.
- Hosted two library seminars: "Growing your own food" with Connie Dam of William Dam Seeds and "the Art of Eating Local" with Sonya Kaute of Eco Chefs.
- Participated in the "Make Your Mark Leave No Trace" youth conference at Bateman HS and delivered a workshop on cooking with local food, and Burlington's Go Green Festival at Appleby Ice Centre with a presentation on sustainable planning and urban design.
- Published a number of articles in the Burlington Post (Home Energy Efficiency Checklist; Use less water at Home; Free Local Food; Solar Thermal Technology, etc.
- Presentations to the committee included Halton Enablers of Renewable Energy (Graham Flint) and the city's program to restrict bottled water in city facilities and the implementation of the zero waste strategy.
- Helped plan and participated in the city's Climate Change Summit and World Environment Day.
- Encouraged council to sign the 2010 Declaration for Biodiversity (presented by Mayor Cam Jackson).
- Research and planned a biodiversity garden near LaSalle Park, focusing on native plants with interpretive signage.
- Organized a planting event for a native species garden at Lakeshore Public School.
- Two library seminars were held: one on Invasive Plants & Native Plants and one on Renewable Energy.
- Supported the city's corporate sustainable building policy but advocated that target should be LEED Gold.
- Presented State of the Environment Report IV to Council - priority recommendations included a community energy plan, the Cootes to Escarpment Land Management Plan, increasing plastics accepted in blue box program, and green procurement.
- Participated in community actions to advocate against the Niagara to GTA corridor bisecting rural Burlington.
- Participated on the Conservation Halton Grindstone Creek Management Review and Mount Nemo Visioning exercise.
- Began the Green Book List, quarterly reports on select green books.
- Hosted two library seminars: one on Beautiful Edible Gardens, which was so popular, a second seminar was added at Tansley Woods library. The second one was a local food fair entitled: "Local Food: What's in it for you?" with a panel discussion.
- Participated in the World Environment Day and Kite Festival.
- Reviewed and commented on select initiatives, including the use of artificial turf, regulating the use of leaf blowers, the city's green procurement polity and the provincial source water protection process.
- Presentations to the committee included Shark Fins, Engagement Charter, the Urban Forest Master Plan and the Bruce Trail Conservancy.
- Participated in a tour of the Halton Region Waste Management Site, both the transfer station and recycling plant in Burlington, and the compost facility in Hamilton.
- One article published in the Burlington Post on Water Protection.
- Held its first Jane's Ride (named after urbanist Jane Jacobs) to highlight strengths and weaknesses of cycling infrastructure in Burlington.
- Created the Green Business award with the Mayor's office, through the Burlington Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala.
- Hosted two library seminars: one presented Sarah Elton, a CBC radio commentator speaking on her "Locavore" book and the importance of eating local food; the second one was a panel on Active Transportation.
- Developed language for the Official Plan Vision and commented on a number of staff reports, studies and recommendations, including the Sustainable Building and Development Guidelines; Transit Master Plan, Enbridge Line 9b Reversal, Growing the Greenbelt proposal and the Community Trails Master Plan.
- Participated in the community stakeholder advisory committee to develop Burlington's first Community Energy Plan.
- Provided comments on a number of sustainability issues: Enbridge Line 9b; Lakeshore Road Cycle Lanes; LaSalle Marina and the Trumpeter Swans; a by-law for private trees; New Street Bike Lanes and OPG deep geologic repository proposal for nuclear waste.
- Hosted two library seminars: one featuring Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario - Earth to Us: Are you Committed to Dealing with Climate Change?; and the second being "Growth from Grassroots: Local Environmental Stories" with a panel speaking on how individuals can make a difference in sustainability issues.
- Participated in a number of external committees/events: Niagara to GTA Corridor Study, Halton Environmental Network; Hamilton/Halton Race to Reduce Event (City Hall); Mount Nemo 7G visioning; Upwind Downwind Air Quality Conference, etc.
- Presentations made to the committee included: Trumpeter Swan Restoration Group; Sustainable Hamilton; Cycling Committee; Malaysia, Borneo Volunteer Expedition to build a school for SDC member, and RPM staff on private tree by-law consultation.
- Policy & Development Sub-committee had presentations on Transit Oriented Development; Community Energy Planning; and Sustainable Transportation.
- Continued to participate on the Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the implementation of the Burlington Community Energy Plan.
- Continued to advocate for an updated vision as part of the Official Plan Review process.
- Reviewed and commented on a number of policies, reports, issues, such as: the Transportation Futures Study proposal by McMaster Institute for Transportation Logistics; use of neonicotinoid pesticides; storm water management; sustainable building guidelines; the revised site alteration by-law; the Mount Nemo Heritage Conservation District and Mobility Hubs.
- Participated in the advisory group for the Community Trails Strategy.
- Hosted two library seminars: one on the Business of Greening Burlington: How Local Companies are Contributing to Sustainability, and the second was a panel on energy conservation, "Your House: Saving Energy = Saving Money".
- Toured home of an SDC member which is energy efficient with eco friendly building materials and a small solar photovoltaic power system.
- Presented the 5th edition of the State of the Environment Report for Burlington.
- Hosted the 25th anniversary of the Sustainable Development Committee.
- Participated in community events like BurlingtonGreen's Eco Fair, Car-Free Sunday and the Inspire Burlington Take Action Burlington event on climate change.
- Hosted an Electric Vehicle workshop at Burlington Central Library.
|Past Chairs of the Burlington Sustainable Development Committee|
1990 Ray Rivers
1991 Ray Rivers
1992 Adi Irani
1993 Raymond Kessler
1994 Chris Walker
1995 Aline Tso
1996 Dori Kazimer
1997 Steve Lamming
1998 Bob Hicks
1999 Dorothy Pocock
2000 Don Morrier
2001 Alex Brooks-Joiner
2002 Marilyn Ortwein
2003 Dave Rokosh
2004 Dave McKay
2005 Kurt Koster
2006 Kurt Koster
2007 Guy Sheppard
2008 Guy Sheppard
2009 Guy Sheppard
2010 Paul Toffoletti
2011 Paul Toffoletti
2012 Paul Toffoletti
2013 Herb Sinnock
2014 Herb Sinnock
2015 Gareth Williams