On Behalf of Our Local Environment

I thought you might like to know that at this week’s Council meeting, I will be introducing a resolution(s) intended to address local environmental concerns.  

I will be asking Council to refer to the municipality’s new Environment Committee, two items for the Committee’s consideration, review, research and finally, recommendations to Mayor and Council on the feasibility of:

  • developing and implementing a required de-construction waste management plan, as part of the demolition application permitting process in Oak Bay; and,
  • developing and implementing an Environmental Sustainability Checklist or Guide for developers and applicants, as part of the re-zoning/development application permitting process in Oak Bay.  

These ideas are based on my awareness of similar practices in other jurisdictions.  For example, the cities of Edmonton, Vancouver and Seattle all have guidelines and/or requirements for de-construction and demolition waste management planning.  

In Port Coquitlam and North Saanich, environmental sustainability guidelines are provided by these municipalities to applicants at the time they apply for a development permit/re-zoning application (I was part of the North Saanich Council at the time this process was adopted).  Such guidelines help to protect trees, habitat and natural landscapes during building construction.

Regarding construction, demolition and waste management, at the present time in the Capital Region, unless a developer voluntarily re-cycles demolition waste or enlists the services of Nickel Bros. to salvage and move a building, de-construction/demolition waste goes directly to Hartland Landfill.  And of the other jurisdictions I examined, it appears that wood products make up the biggest segment of waste going into landfill waste streams.

I believe that both concepts are worthy of consideration for use by Oak Bay, given that such environmental best practices reflect goals and priorities identified by this Mayor and Council and by the CRD in its 2012-2014 draft Strategic Plan and Priorities.  

With the number of housing demolitions occurring in Oak Bay, largely as a result of re-development pressure, and the community’s ongoing concerns about protecting our local environment, I believe we have a responsibility to demonstrate “greener” land use practices on behalf of environmental protection.

I will let you know the outcome of my resolution.