An Action-packed next couple of weeks!

Plus exciting updates for a Green Economy Hub!

The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay > News/Newsletters > Newsletter > An Action-packed next couple of weeks!

In This Newsletter:

  • Register NOW for this Wednesday’s event: Modeling a Regional Approach to Tackle Key Challenges: CAOs highlight actions and potential next steps towards regional initiatives
  • Register NOW for June 5th’s Getting to Affordable: How do the numbers work for achieving affordable housing in our region???
  • Sustainability Summit reflection and exciting updates coming soon!

UPCOMING EVENT: Wednesday, May 29, 4:30-6 pm via Zoom
Modeling a Regional Approach to Tackle Key Challenges: CAOs highlight actions and potential next steps towards regional initiatives


    • Andrew McNeill, CAO, Wasaga Beach
    • John Ferguson, CAO, Clearview
    • Karen Govan, CAO, Grey Highlands
    • Shawn Everitt, CAO, The Blue Mountains
    • Sonya Skinner, CAO, Collingwood

Many municipalities are currently updating Official Plans, Strategic Plans, Sustainability Plans, and Community Improvement Plans. This community conversation focuses on the fact that our most pressing challenges are too big for any one municipality to solve on their own. Affordable housing shortages to infrastructure strains, rapidly growing population to the escalating impact of extreme weather events call for new ways to solve problems, work on initiatives together, and do things we’ve never done before.

Event banner for May 29th

This virtual event aims to provide a platform for a public discussion featuring regional CAOs highlighting current actions addressing key challenges faced by municipalities. We will hear their thoughts on conditions for success to nurture alignment on objectives, pool resources, and tackle these issues regionally.  Register for this FREE virtual event NOW!


UPCOMING EVENT: Wednesday, June 5, 4:30-6 pm via Zoom
Getting to Affordable – How do the numbers work for achieving affordable housing in our region???

Banner for June 5 event


    • Marilyn Struthers, Volunteer Facilitator, The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay
    • Jack Vanderkooy, Co-lead, Social Finance & Affordable Housing, TISGB
    • Krystal Valencia, Rental Rescue 
    • Bo Pelech, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
    • Sylvia Statham, Lutheran Social Services
    • Phil Cant, Rotary Club of Meaford

This virtual event aims to provide a platform for a public discussion on the pro forma project inspired by the Institute of Southern Georgian Bay’s Affordable Housing Summit and Workshop last November. The project – a collaboration between Rental Rescue the University of Toronto (UofT), and TISGB, took place over the winter was partially supported through EllisDon.

The graduate student team from UofT, working closely with lecturer and advisor Bo Pelech, Rotman School of Management, and Krystal Valencia, Rental Rescue, researched what could be built on four sites – in Collingwood, Owen Sound, and Meaford – as-of-right, based on zoning bylaws. They produced a robust pro forma document that identified the costs related to developing a multi-unit purpose-built rental building on each site and identified the cost savings by using modular building techniques vs traditional stick-built structures.  They also identified the funding shortfalls and how local investors though a community bond with several tranches could assist in the financing.

Regional scale plays an important role in increasing the availability of affordable units. We’re getting closer to understanding the numbers for Getting to Affordable Housing.

Participate in this community conversation, learn about 6 key strategies for increasing the supply of affordable housing units, and discuss what we should be doing in our communities!

Register for this FREE virtual event NOW!


A Green Economy Hub for the Region? Reflecting on April 25th’s Sustainability Summit

By Eric Ennis and Tori Rooney, TISGB Board members and Co-leads of Sustainability through a Greener Economy


Speaker at Sustainability Summit on June 25, 2024

On April 25, over 125 leaders from local municipalities, businesses, and nonprofits gathered at Blue Mountain Resort for the inaugural Town of The Blue Mountains’ Sustainability Summit. The first part of the day focused on the Town’s sustainability plan and circular economies. The second half of the day, held in partnership with the Institute of Southern Georgian Bay (TISGB) and Green Economy Canada, focused on helping members of our community to conduct their operations in a greener way with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

After an impactful Land Acknowledgement, which set the tone for a day filled with powerful discussions and innovative ideas, Mayor Andrea Matrosovs and Jeffrey Fletcher, Manager of Solid Waste and Environmental Initiatives, provided an update on the Town’s ambitious five-year sustainability plan, The Blue Mountains Future Story. This plan emphasizes the interconnectedness of the human ecosystem with the natural world and outlines proactive measures to nurture this relationship. More than half of the Town’s 137 bold actions have been initiated, but the four biggest steps so far have been the Natural Asset Inventory, a council motion to achieve NetZero, decisions to drive inclusionary policies to advance diversity, equitability, and accessibility, and the implementation of collaborative partnerships. 

Acknowledging that sustainability is a collective endeavor, the summit featured speakers who explored the shift from a linear economy to a circular economy. This included presentations on: 

    • Grey County’s climate action plan to reduce 71% of its corporate emissions through 9 key actions, 
    • Georgian Bay Forever’s successes at studying and reducing plastic pollution in our waterways, thus reducing its negative impact on our food system and residents health,
    • Three Waters Foundation’s work with indigenous communities to support their connection with our region’s land and water and their concerns about plastic pollution, 
    • Terracycle’s recycling of products that most municipal systems cannot, 
    • MJ Waste Solutions’ work on circular economies and local initiatives, and 
    • Ice River Sustainable Solutions highlighting how a responsible producer should do business.

After lunch Green Economy Canada and a TISGB-organized Design Team facilitated a workshop to share the concept of Green Economy Hubs and how they help businesses and organizations work towards reducing their carbon emissions, waste, and water consumption, and mitigate the risk posed by rising costs. This process begins with learning how to measure emissions and inefficiencies because, as Priyanka Lloyd, Executive Director of Green Economy Canada said, “what gets measured gets managed.” Green Economy Canada then supports hub members to make improvements that benefit the environment and reduce costs.

Scott Parent from the Three Waters Foundation poignantly remarked,“It’s hard to protect something we aren’t connected to.” This sentiment resonated deeply and underscored the need for collective action and community engagement in our sustainability effort. While we still have lots to do, there was nothing but buoyant optimism around the room.

Stay tuned to learn more about the Institute and its partners’ work to start a Green Economy Hub Pilot Project in our region!