Planning for greener communities

GCC staff attended the Ontario Professional Planners Institute’s symposium to promote walkable communities and innovation in stormwater management.

GCC staff promote innovation in stormwater management and walkable communities.

Staff from Green Communities Canada travelled to Niagara Falls earlier this month for the Ontario Professional Planners Institute’s symposium, Healthy Communities in the Digital Age.

Kate Hall, our Walk Friendly Communities Program Manager, led two very successful walkability audits. Delegates took to the streets to examine existing walking conditions and assess how they relate to the safety, access, comfort and convenience of walkers. After their walk, they discussed their observations from a planning perspective.

“Walkability audits can be a powerful tool for change,” says Kate. “Once you’ve been on a walkability audit, you’ll never look at your streets the same way again.”

Clara Blakelock, our Coordinator of Water Programs, attended the conference to promote green infrastructure for stormwater management and GCC’s RAIN program. RAIN promotes ecological stormwater management by treating rain as a resource and managing it close to where it falls.

“Our goal at the conference was to let land-use planners know about the possibilities for RAIN in their communities, and to gather feedback about how stormwater is being managed across the province,” says Clara.

Clara spoke with many planners who were receptive to the RAIN program message and understood the need for innovation in stormwater management. They also identified barriers in the approvals processes that prevent developers from undertaking more green infrastructure projects. Through a leadership role in the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition and GIO’s stormwater section, GCC is working to address these barriers and create a more conducive climate for green infrastructure.

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