City council will ask staff to develop a governance model to implement climate change initiatives with Hamilton; aren't they the people who fouled the bay?

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

June 30th, 2016


Saying we share the air and we have to work together to keep it clean  is one thing – actually doing something about the air we share is something else.

Burlington city Council is planning on passing a motion at its meeting on Thursday to Support a Governance Structure to implement Climate Change Initiatives between the Cities of Burlington and Hamilton.

Smokestacks HamiltonThis is an issue that is dear to the heart of Mayor Goldring – he would, we are sure, like it to become his legacy issue. He doesn’t have one so far and this is as good a legacy as anyone can hope for – let’s see how it goes at Council on Thursday.

Here is what they want to do – the language is a little stilted – but the intent is clear enough.


Whereas, the Government of Canada’s intent is to protect communities and grow our economy by making significant new investments in green infrastructure and clean technologies as well as to endow a $2 billion Low Carbon Economy Trust to fund projects that reduce carbon that will “support projects in clean energy that can be commercialized, scaled up, and exported”;

Whereas, the Province of Ontario has a Five-Year Climate Change Strategy and has introduced legislation, which aims to formalize a cap-and- trade system and invest those funds into green projects to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution;

Whereas, the Province of Ontario has already announced in 2015, the Green Investment Fund that commits $325 million to projects that will fight climate change;

Whereas, the City of Hamilton has developed a Community Climate Change Action Plan, which directs priority actions that will mitigate greenhouse gases, adapt to the risks associated with climate change and will help make Hamilton a resilient and prosperous community in the face of climate change;

Kerr Georhe swims Burlington BAy 75

In an attempt to prove that the water in Hamilton harbour was safe then provincial cabinet minister George went for a swim.

Whereas, taking action on climate change will be beneficial to the Hamilton Harbour / Burlington Bay area and will complement the work on greenhouse gas reduction by the City of Burlington;

Whereas, in order to successfully implement the Community Climate Change Action Plan, a formalized governance structure is necessary; and,

Whereas The City of Hamilton already has an internationally recognized participatory governance structure known as the Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC) and the Bay Area Implementation Team (BAIT);

Therefore be it resolved:

Aerial view - skyway bridge

The really dirty stuff is on the right in Hamilton.

(a) That staff be directed to develop a governance model similar to the Bay Area Restoration Council and the Bay Area Implementation Team, in collaboration with staff from the Federal and Provincial offices of the Ministries of Environment and Climate Change, and report back to the Board of Health;

(b) That the Mayor correspond with The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and The Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, to request that the Federal and Provincial Ministries assist the City of Hamilton with the establishment of City of Hamilton’s Community Climate Change Action Plan Implementation Team in identifying the appropriate Federal and Provincial government staff, private sector and community representatives to provide expert advice and financial resources toward the action on climate change, within the funding guidelines for the Low Carbon Economy Trust; and, the Five-Year Climate Change Strategy;

(c) That upon the formation of the governance structure for the Community Climate Change Action Plan Implementation Team, the City of Hamilton seek a partnership with the City of Burlington to coordinate efforts, with respect to the implementation of the Plan; and,

(d) That staff be directed to report to the Board of Health annually, respecting the progress of the Community Climate Change Action Plan.

Is this one of those Motherhood issues that everyone will get their voting  hand up to see who can be first?  Will it be like the Shape Burlington report passed unanimously in 2011 and forever forgotten?

James Ridge

The not yet existent Code of Conduct is buried within the 25 year Strategic Plan that city manager James Ridge has put together.

Or will it be like the Code of Conduct that city council has yet to adopt.  They shuffled that one off to the city manager who buried it in his 20 year Strategic Plan – suggesting that we will perhaps see some within the next 25 years.

Which was probably a smart move – this council doesn’t want a code of conduct.

We will know Thursday night how serious they are about climate change.

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2 comments to City council will ask staff to develop a governance model to implement climate change initiatives with Hamilton; aren’t they the people who fouled the bay?

  • Walter Mulkewich

    The comment that Hamilton were “the people who fouled the Bay” is unfair, simplistic, and cannot stand up to historical scrutiny – its much more complex – we were all complicit in the kind of industrial society we created – The Bay Restoration project has involved, as it should, all levels of government, including Burlington and Hamilton, industry and the pubic. We share the Bay Area ecosystem with Hamilton and should work together.

  • John

    Kudos Mr. Mayor for seizing the opportunity, positioning Burlington to benefit from any available funding and a better environment. That’s leadership with an eye for the future of our city.
    Improving the harbour and bay might be something this council could agree on, a rare moment.
    As for the code of conduct, we have a clear code of practice specifically for council that applies to many of the issues. It’s old 1998, reviewed and approved without change in 2012 by every siting councilor and the mayor.
    When we have a councilor ignoring what this council has already approved, achieving anything new is difficult.
    Our city manager has shown us his wisdom, the current code of practice is due to be reviewed in 2017, let the councilors decide that’s what they are elected to do.