In this newsletter:
- Inspiring Next Steps after November 17th’s New Ways to Finance the Housing Affordability Gap event held at Meaford Hall
- Why Blue Mountain Resort Cares About Environmental Sustainability
- What Exactly IS a “Green Economy Hub”?
Housing Forum Inspires Next Steps
By Donna Howey and Peggy McIntosh, members of the Institute’s Social Finance & Affordable Housing Group
At New Ways to Finance the Housing Affordability Gap: Ensuring the Sustainability of our Towns was held at Meaford Hall on November 17, 2023, the Social Finance & Affordable Housing Group engaged over one hundred eager participants willing to learn from speakers across Canada about their experience in creating affordable housing. As the speakers described using social finance tools to make these kinds of builds viable, their stories surfaced inspiring possibilities for our Southern Georgian Bay communities. In addition to these impressive morning speakers, an afternoon workshop led by our Group’s Volunteer Facilitator, Marilyn Struthers, attracted 50 business, government, non-profit, and philanthropic leaders for a collective discussion about the morning sessions and what we might do here!
This housing forum opened with civic leaders from our region sharing their views on their municipality’s housing issues. We heard, first hand, that Southern Georgian Bay municipalities share many affordable housing challenges which include:
- insufficient infrastructure to support new builds,
- broad geographies and small tax bases, and
- the need to identify the gap between the cost of building market housing, and what is affordable for moderate income renters who are our retail, healthcare, and service workers in need of housing.
The caring and commitment of our municipal leaders to move forward on affordable housing was evident by the remarks made and by the many council members in attendance.
Why Blue Mountain Resort Cares About Environmental Sustainability – tracking our footprint
By Tori Rooney, Sustainability Coordinator, Blue Mountain Resort
Blue Mountain is a place for people to connect with nature and make memories on our Mountain. It is our commitment to not only provide great outdoor experiences but to act as stewards of the environment we live and play in. We recognize our impact on the natural environment and are committed to improving environmental synergy in all aspects of our Resort’s operations to further minimize this impact. Blue Mountain Resort values environmental sustainability and is committed to maintaining the Niagara Escarpment region as a healthy ecosystem for both present and future generations to enjoy.
We also acknowledge that the effects of climate change pose a threat to both livelihoods and the beloved snow sports we all enjoy. Taking climate action seriously is a shared responsibility, and all Alterra destinations are dedicated to making a significant impact while minimizing our environmental footprint. Blue Mountain requires Alterra’s support in conducting thorough audits to measure and track our carbon and waste footprint so that we can make reductions that will have the highest impact. Blue Mountain shares Alterra’s forward stance on our climate crisis and understands that collective, aligned action across all Alterra destinations is the key to driving true change in saving the environment we live and play in.
With an understanding of where we are, our sights are set on where we need to go. Alterra is committed to reducing carbon emissions by more than 50%, using 100% renewable energy, and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. We intend to reach these goals with collective efforts across all Alterra destinations. Blue Mountain contributed to this mission in 2023 by reducing natural gas usage by 15%, planting 700 trees through utilizing EcoChit recyclable receipt paper, and increasing waste diversion rates 3% from 2022. We intend to continue on our pathway to sustainability in 2024, with aims to improve our waste management, energy efficiency, electrification, and collaborative efforts towards this shared focus. Blue Mountain aims to be recognized as a leader among four-season resort destinations in Canada for our exceptional commitment to the environment in which we live, work, and play in.
Climate Change is the Defining Issue of Our Time
Businesses have a critical role to play in solving this challenge.
By TISGB’s “Achieving Sustainability through a Greener Economy” working group
The Institute is spearheading an initiative to explore creating a Green Economy Hub in Bruce-Grey-Simcoe in partnership with Green Economy Canada.
Green Economy Hubs work with local businesses to set and achieve sustainability targets — bringing together, supporting, and celebrating businesses as they achieve their goals. To date, over 500 businesses have collectively reduced over 200,000 tonnes of GHGs — the equivalent of the energy needed to power 46,000 homes or taking over 60,000 cars off the road for one year. While each Green Economy Hub is adapted to meet the needs of the local community, all Hubs follow the same four core approaches: they are community-led, business-focused, revenue-generating and target-driven.
When you join a local Green Economy Hub, you will be guided through these milestones, which act as your roadmap to sustainability. Click on each milestone to learn more.
The first step in the Hub Exploration process is to understand current business sustainability needs in our community. We will then gather input from key stakeholders, including local businesses, to better understand how a Hub could address business needs and complement existing initiatives. We will also assess the financial and team resources required to successfully launch a Hub and build a plan of action.
Please reach out to [email protected] if you want to be involved in the Hub Exploration process.