Greenbelt Foundation Announces Landmark Natural Asset Management Plan in Halton
Grindstone Creek Project Will Save Tax Dollars While Providing Critical Flood Mitigation
GTHA, March 5th, 2020—Municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe are struggling to cope with the economic challenges posed by COVID-19. While business-as-usual pauses, climate change barrels on, bringing with it the renewed promise of seasonal extreme weather like Spring 2019’s unprecedented flooding. Existing infrastructure must be updated in order to keep residents and property safe, and yet municipal budgets are under more pressure than ever.
Today’s announcement highlights a different way forward. Through a site-specific evaluation, planning and implementation process, the Greenbelt Foundation and Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) are working with the cities of Hamilton and Burlington, Conservation Halton and Royal Botanical Gardens to develop an asset management plan for Grindstone Creek, part of Ontario’s Greenbelt, which drains a watershed area of 91 km2. The initiative will help the municipalities invest in the creek’s watershed as a means of cost-effectively addressing local flood-risk and water contamination in Hamilton Harbour.
“Given the strain COVID-19 is putting on Ontario’s economy and workers, it is more important now than ever to find cost-effective solutions to the impacts climate change is having on our communities,” says Edward McDonnell, CEO of the Greenbelt Foundation. “When managed properly, natural assets like Grindstone Creek can play a critical role in protecting residents and their property from flooding, saving municipalities money and providing much-needed jobs in planning, design and construction for local workers.”
In the spring of 2018, the Greenbelt Foundation began working with MNAI on a 3 year-project, geared to mainstreaming natural asset management at the municipal level. While traditional grey infrastructure is important, Grindstone Creek demonstrates how natural assets can be incorporated into municipal budgets to save municipalities money and improve the region’s resilience to climate change.
“Natural infrastructure like Grindstone Creek must be preserved and maintained to help protect the surrounding environment against flooding,” says Burlington Mayor, Marianne Meed Ward. “Our efforts also enhance the livability of the area for residents and ensure critical habitat for local biodiversity. We are pleased to partner with area municipalities and agencies like Conservation Halton and the Greenbelt Foundation on the planned restorative work that will benefit Burlington’s residents and wildlife.”
“There is growing evidence that healthy natural assets provide local governments with core infrastructure services such as stormwater management—sometimes at lower capital, operating, maintenance and renewal costs—than engineered alternatives, and often with numerous other benefits,” says Roy Brooke, Executive Director for MNAI. “Understanding, valuing and better-managing nature’s role in providing infrastructure services could play an important part in helping local governments recover from the pandemic.”
About The Greenbelt Foundation: Greenbelt Foundation is a charitable organization, solely dedicated to ensuring the Greenbelt remains permanent, protected and prosperous. We make the right investments in its interconnected natural, agricultural and economic systems, to ensure a working, thriving Greenbelt for all. Ontario’s Greenbelt is the world’s largest, with over 2 million acres of farmland, forests, wetlands and rivers working together to provide clean air, fresh water, and a reliable local food source.
About Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI): The MNAI team provides scientific, economic and municipal expertise to support and guide local governments to identify, value and account for natural assets in their financial planning and asset management programs, and to develop leading-edge, sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure. For more information, visit mnai.ca.
For further information, please contact:
Michael Young, Communications Advisor
(416) 960-0001 x 311 [email protected]
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