Thursday, June 30, 2011

Enough Developable Land for Decades

New Study Shows No Need to Encroach on the Greenbelt

TORONTO, June 29, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Developers, planners and environmentalists can all wave their "whitebelt" flag. A new study shows that the area between the Greenbelt and urban growth boundaries, nicknamed the "whitebelt", contains enough land to accommodate development for several generations.

In fact, expansion plans for the next 20 years in the regions of Durham, York, Peel, Halton, and the City of Hamilton only allow use of approximately 17 per cent of the "whitebelt" for development. This leaves nearly 83 per cent of the "whitebelt", or 120,000 acres of land, untouched until 2031 providing decades of land for housing, industrial and commercial development.

"Some developers claim there isn't enough land for development, but this study makes it clear there is enough land within the "whitebelt" far into the future," said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. "This is a win, win situation for both developers and environmentalists, and there should be no pressure for urban expansion into the Greenbelt."

The study indicates that there is no evidence that the Greenbelt has caused so-called "leap frog" development, that is, growth of communities north and west of the Greenbelt to accommodate people who might have otherwise settled in communities along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

As the Greenbelt Plan and Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe work in tandem, the study authors, Ray Tomalty and Bartek Komorowski of Smart Cities Research Services, provide suggestions to ensure effective implementation of the Growth Plan's vision and principles. Recommendations include ways of supporting the development of compact and transit oriented communities with a variety of housing types.

About the report, Inside and Out: Sustaining Ontario's Greenbelt:

Funded by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and prepared by Smart Cities Research Services, the report documents qualitative research conducted in 2010 about growth related issues that affect Ontario's Greenbelt. The study involved analysis of secondary sources and more than 30 semi-structured interviews with a range of government, development industry, and non-government stakeholders. For copies of the report please visit or call (416) 960-0001, ext. 309.

About Ontario's Greenbelt and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

Ontario's Greenbelt is an example of a vibrant multi-use greenbelt that protects significant agricultural and environmentally sensitive lands from development. Underpinned by one of the strongest legal frameworks and impressive political commitment, it provides diverse economic, environmental and social benefits to Ontarians. The Greenbelt is 1.8 million acres of potential to make Ontario a better place. The Greenbelt Foundation began in 2005 with a mandate to promote and sustain our Greenbelt as a permanent feature.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Celebrate Global Wind Day: Celebrating clean energy, new jobs, and a brighter future

Wind is providing clean, affordable and safe energy in every Canadian province - enough to power more than 1.2 million homes

OTTAWA, June 15, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today thousands of people in more than 30 countries around the world will hold events to celebrate wind energy and its environmental, social and economic benefits during the third annual Global Wind Day. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and DMI Industries are teaming up to celebrate with a tour of DMI's Fort Erie manufacturing plant and the Mohawk Point Wind Farm in southern Ontario.

"We have much to celebrate in Canada as 2011 is expected to be a record year for wind energy development, with 586 MW already added to the grid," said Robert Hornung, President, CanWEA. "Canada is blessed with one of the world's best wind resources. Realizing our potential to have 20 per cent of Canada's electricity demand met by wind energy by 2025 would result in $79 billion of investments, 52, 000 high quality, full-time jobs and bring $165 million in annual revenues to municipalities."

Canada's wind energy industry took another step forward in 2010 with the addition of 690 MW of installed wind energy capacity, positioning Canada in 9th place globally in terms of new installed capacity and 9th for overall cumulative installed capacity. Currently 4,588 MW of electricity is generated by wind in Canada, which is enough to power more than 1.2 million homes with clean, emissions-free energy. Wind energy is also re-invigorating the country's manufacturing sector, creating jobs for skilled workers, and attracting investment to rural areas.

DMI is celebrating the 5th anniversary of opening its Ontario facility, the longest serving manufacturer to the wind energy supply chain in Ontario and a pioneer for the industry. Today, the DMI facility employs 180 individuals in various manufacturing positions and has an extensive supply chain with local vendors that provide a number of the components and consumables used in production.

"This month DMI Industries reached a five year milestone at our Fort Erie plant," said Stefan Nilsson, President, DMI. "As an early entrant in the supply chain, DMI has faced challenging years with fluctuating policy support for wind energy development. While we believe there is great potential for our industry in terms of job growth and energy diversity, we realize success depends on long-term favorable policy for wind energy in both the United States and Canada."

Wind energy has increased almost ten-fold in the last six years in Canada as governments seek ways to meet rising energy demand, reduce environmental impacts of electricity generation, and stimulate rural and industrial economic development. Ontario is the current provincial leader in installed wind energy capacity accounting for 1,636 MW of wind energy development. Alberta and Quebec follow at 807 MW and 663MW respectively and Canada's remaining seven provinces together account for the remaining one-third.

While the vast majority of Canadians support wind energy for its environmental and social benefits, their voice is often missing from the dialogue. Now they can join the conversation and help spread the word about wind energy by visiting

CanWEA is the voice of the wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy throughout Canada on behalf of its more than 470 members. A national non-profit association, CanWEA serves as Canada's leading source of credible information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits. The document Wind Vision 2025 - Powering Canada's Future is available at

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ontario Reacts to Live Asian Carp Spilled in River

Thames River bridge - Photo by Robert Taylor

by Jeff Kart, Bay City, Michigan

This was an actual test. But only a test. Like those emergency tones you hear on your TV when a storm is approaching. Officials in Ontario, Canada, think the possibility of a live Asian carp invasion via truck is real. People have been caught trying to bring the invasive fish to the Toronto fish market, as we reported earlier. Threats like this have Ontario officials working on ways to contain a spill, should one occur. They recently came up with a plan. But is it just a matter of time before this happens? Is this plan responsive enough, and what other plans are there throughout the Great Lakes basin?

According to information from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, officials in March held a "tabletop exercise" to test how various agencies would respond if an accident in southwestern Ontario caused a truckload of live Asian carp to be dumped in a river. Such exercises are usually used to practice for things like natural disasters or influenza outbreaks, which tells you something.

As explained in a document about that exercise:

"The Great Lakes are one of the world's most important natural resources—holding one fifth of the world's fresh surface water, home to more than 150 species of fish, and vital to the economy of Ontario and neighbouring U.S. states.

But several kilometres from Lake Michigan lurks a threat that could change the Great Lakes forever. The fish known as Asian carp could wipe out native fish species, devastate sport and commercial fisheries, and cause far-reaching changes to the Great Lakes ecosystem."

Ontario officials fear that Asian carp could spread in the Great Lakes just like they did in the Mississippi River basin, crowding out native fish.

There's been some speculation that the worst of the species, bighead and silver carp, wouldn't survive long should they get past an electric barrier near Chicago and into Lake Michigan, in part because other invasive species have already screwed up that lake's ecosystem. Other experts think the fish could perhaps survive in Lake Erie, on the other side of Michigan.

"We think that a scenario like this one is a real possibility," a Ministry spokeswoman says of the truck spill. "It's illegal in Ontario to possess, sell or import Asian carp and other live invasive species, but we know that people are still trying to bring live Asian carp across the border."

... read more story at

Saturday, June 11, 2011

U of G Hosts Alumni Weekend 2011

Alumni House by Bob Hamilton
GUELPH, Ontario June 9, 2011 - University of Guelph News Release

The University of Guelph campus will celebrate Alumni Weekend June 17 and 18. The theme of this year’s event is "Students for a Short Time, Alumni for Life.” More than 20 class reunions will be held.

“As graduates, we share so many wonderful memories of our time spent together,” said Dave Hume, this year’s honorary chair and a 1961 graduate of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC). “Alumni Weekend is a great time to reconnect with friends and classmates, and celebrate our alma mater and everything it means to us.”

Events will include the following:

June 17

OAC Alumni Association annual general meeting and reception: U of G Arboretum, 4:30 p.m.

Star party: MacNaughton Observatory, 9 p.m.

June 18

President's Lunch: Peter Clark Hall, noon.

Campus tours, including the President's House, Macdonald Institute, Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre, trial garden.

Annual general meetings for several alumni associations.

Alumni Dinner: Creelman Hall, 7 p.m., reception at 6 p.m.

Alumni Pub: Brass Taps, 9 p.m.

A complete schedule is available online

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nestle Wins the Stockholm Industry Water Award

STOCKHOLM, June 7, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Nestle has been named the winner of the Stockholm Industry Water Award for its leadership and performance to improve water management in its internal operations and throughout its supply chain.

The Award Committee also recognised Nestle's work to improve the water management of its suppliers, which includes over 25 million people who are involved in its entire value chain. Nestle employs 1,000 agronomists and water experts, who work directly with farmers to help them reduce their water requirements, increase crop yields, and minimise pollution. In 2009-2010, Nestle provided expert training and technical support for 300,000 farmers and the company continues to collaborate with other food industry leaders to establish best practice and guidelines for sustainable water use at a farm level. Nestle also has a leading role in the 2030 Water Resources Group.

Award Committee Member and Director of Water Projects at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Joppe Cramwinckel, said:

"Through its unwavering commitment, Nestle has established itself as a leader in smart water management and is deserving of this prestigious award. It is providing an example for other food producers and distributors to follow. With agriculture accounting for nearly 70% of global water use, and food demand expected to double by 2050, companies have an increasing responsibility to improve food chain resource efficiency."

The honourary award will be presented to the chairman of Nestle SA, P. Brabeck-Letmathe, at a ceremony on August 24 during the 2011 World Water Week in Stockholm. When receiving the news, he said:
"I am most grateful for this recognition. We have identified water as the biggest challenge for future food security, and beyond that, for economic growth. This is probably the most prestigious award in this area for a company - and it will be a strong encouragement for us to continue with our efforts."

Nestle is the largest food and nutrition company in the world, employing around 280 000 people in over 100 countries. Over the past decade, Nestle has reduced the total water withdrawals by over 30 percent, more than doubled the water efficiency of their internal operations and made significant reductions in the quantity of wastewater discharged into the environment.

About the Stockholm Industry Water Award

The Stockholm Industry Water Award recognises the business sector's contribution to sustainable water management, by minimising water consumption and environmental impact. It is given to any sector of business and industry. The Award was established in 2000 by the Stockholm Water Foundation in collaboration with the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. An independent award committee, composed of leading professionals and academics of water sciences, reviews all submissions and selects the winner following an open nomination process. The award is administered by the Stockholm International Water Institute..

Friday, June 3, 2011

Anti-Wind Power Myths Corrected in New Report: No Scientific Basis for Health Impacts Claims - Wind Power Viable and Beneficial

TORONTO, June 2, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - A new report released today corrects the misinformation being promoted by anti-wind activists around Ontario. Blowing Smoke: Correcting Anti-Wind Myths in Ontario finds that study after study around the world has concluded that there is no scientific basis for claims about health impacts from wind power projects, and that wind power is both technically viable and has economic and environmental benefits for Ontario.

"There is a tremendous amount of fear-mongering going on right now about wind power in Ontario," said Adam Scott, Green Energy Program Manager, Environmental Defence. "This report aims to introduce some real facts into the debate so that communities can make well informed decisions about wind projects."

The report cites studies that show that with setbacks, wind power projects make as much sound as background noise in a regular home, but that whether or not this bothers people is often in the ear of the beholder - those who are more bothered are those who object to the project in the first place on other grounds. Those who benefit are less bothered.

"Communities must be better integrated into the management and benefits of wind power projects," said Kristopher Stevens, Executive Director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. "Ultimately, community acceptance will determine whether or not Ontario remains a leader in clean energy, or whether we let other jurisdictions take the investment and jobs away from us."

The report also debunks the arguments that wind power isn't a viable source of power for the grid. Other jurisdictions like Denmark and Germany are already successfully integrating much larger amounts of wind power into their grids, and are aiming to add even more. Finally, the report also points at job creation taking place around Ontario due to wind projects, dispelling the claims that no job creation is going on.

The report Blowing Smoke: Correcting Anti-Wind Myths in Ontario can be found at

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is Canada's most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

ABOUT OSEA ( The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association inspires and enables the people of Ontario to improve their environment, their economy and their health by producing clean, sustainable energy in their homes, businesses and their communities.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Native plant research breathes new life into green roof planning across Canada

Industry-driven collaboration between Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Nova Scotia Agricultural College to break down green roof barriers

VINELAND, Ontario, June 2, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - New research sponsored by the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) and Nova Scotia Agricultural College will assess plant diversity and survival issues for green roofs.

"Multi-year survivability has been an on-going issue for green roof habitats in Canada. With this research we are particularly interested in moving away from the more common plantings dominated by Sedum species to a broader selection of native plants that demonstrate sun, wind, cold, and drought tolerance," said Dr. Rumen Conev, Vineland's Research Scientist, Ornamental Plant Breeding.

With over 20 new native species being studied, a green solution to making Canadian buildings more energy efficient could be right under our feet.

The environmental benefits of green roofs are already well-documented; significant reductions in building heating and cooling costs, storm water runoff management, and natural habitat creation. However, lack of research into planting options and managing green roof health in Canadian climatic conditions has been a barrier to uptake.

"Canadian cities are lagging behind in North American green roof rankings", said Andy Kuyvenhoven, President, Kuyvenhoven Greenhouses Inc. and President of COHA. "Growers and nurseries have a suite of native plants that we believe can do the job. This research will confirm the best choices from dozens of species that are already highly adapted to and can help resolve the issues of the Canadian conditions."

"As a grower I am interested in understanding how best to start plants in the nursery to ensure successful transition to a green roof habitat" said Bill Stensson, President, Sheridan Nurseries Ltd. "Our industry wants to see a green roof explosion in this country with planting materials that can survive for 50 years, not one or two."

Funding for this research was received in part from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's agri-science cluster initiative. Vineland's green roof research initiative will be on display beginning in June 2011 at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in the heart of Niagara's horticultural zone. For information on this research go to

About Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance

The Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance is the national voice for the ornamental horticulture industry in Canada and is a strategic alliance of three broad based organizations: the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), the Fédération Interdisciplinaire de l'Horticulture Ornementale du Québec (FIHOQ) and Flowers Canada Growers (FCG). These three organizations work together through COHA to coordinate industry action, contribute to effective public policy and speak with one voice on issues of concern to the sector as a whole.

About Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre is an independent, not-for-profit organization that was created to be a world-class centre for horticultural science and innovation. In its capacity to enable and foster relationships with industry, academia and government, Vineland works to deliver premium product and production innovations. Vineland brings a global perspective to the Canadian horticulture industry and offers a broad range of lasting benefits to stakeholders both locally and internationally. Aligned with industry needs, Vineland's research priorities and outcomes are focused on the growth of the entire horticulture industry. Vineland is funded in part by Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.