Nature Bonds

The petition to create a new financial security, Nature Bonds (E-1264 – Protection of the Environment) must be signed online by 3:00pm, 23 March 2018.

Addressed to the inhabitants of Canada

On the following interesting subjects:

  1. A move to protect 90% of Canada’s land and aquatic area as a permanent natural reserve.
  2. A move to zero carbon by 2024.
  3. As funded by the creation of a new financial security; Nature Bonds.

2017 marked the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of our nation. This same year also marks 35 years since the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into effect. This is cause for celebration, but also a re-evaluation of what it means to be Canadian. What it means today to respect the ideals outlined by our forefathers.

I am thinking about the right to security of person, a right not only in our own country’s charter, but in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Climate change, and the biodiversity crisis violate my generation’s (I’m seventeen) right to security of person as set out herein. Although the current government has taken unprecedented action on this issue, it will not suffice. It is a drop in the ocean of things that need to be done. Therefore I propose a very simple solution:

That we create a new financial security, Nature Bonds, in order to fund the protection of 90% of Canada’s land and aquatic area as a permanent natural reserve, and a move to net-zero carbon by 2024.

I understand that this is an incredibly ambitious goal, that this is a kind of previously unheard of action. However, “We meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds” (Kennedy).

Everyone is susceptible to fear and ignorance, but we are stronger than that. We, as a compassionate and kind people, must come together to achieve the protection of the biosphere because if we fail, we betray every single generation to come. In six years the allied forces defeated both Hitler and Hirohito. In eight years humanity brought a man to the moon. We have had decades to counteract climate change and still no one has moved to do what must be done. Perhaps the ship has already sailed. But we must still try. A failure to do this would reflect cowardliness and an unprecedented failure of humanity when this generation and all generations to come need us most.

The goal to protect ninety percent of Canada’s land began with the knowledge of acclaimed biologist E.O.Wilson. He explains that, “The fraction of species that can be protected in one-half the global surface is about 85%. A biogeographic scan of Earth’s principal habitats shows that a full representation of its ecosystems and the vast majority of its species can be saved within half the planet’s surface. At one-half and above, life on Earth enters the safe zone.”

Canada has 9 985 000 square kilometres of land. When you combine the amount of arable land, permanent pastures, cities and other built-up land, the total occupied land is less than 10%. So, by that count we could easily protect 90% of Canada’s area— 8 986 500 square km.

Ninety percent makes sense because we must do more than we are doing now, as a country extremely gifted with space, and monetary resources. We must do more because other nations will be able to accomplish less. But truly, we must do more because it is the right and true thing to do.

I know that a good deal of land is already protected in Canada, through our national parks program, and other initiatives. This would just formalize and expand on what we have, and this 90% would include the parks and other currently protected areas. In addition, it is not my intention that people are forcefully relocated in order to create these protected areas.

The exact land that is protected should comprise of all the different ecological zones and regions in Canada, and as many different species as possible should be protected within this land. Sometimes, this will mean that areas such as roads will need to be temporarily closed, for example, during the migration of animals, in order to protect species.

Ninety percent should also apply to our coastlines, which are fragile and not well protected. 243,797 km of coastline, times the 360 km out that Canada claims, is 90 204 890 square km of ocean. If we include the great lakes’ 3800 km of coastline and all our smaller lakes, rivers, streams, etc. we have thousands more of square km of water to protect.

I propose that:

  1. This land and water will belong to all Canadian citizens.
  2. It is not allowed to be used for corporate gain for the next 30 years, to allow the area to regenerate to full health. At that point, a new discussion can begin on the topic of sustainably harvesting renewable resources.
  3. This protection means that all resources both underground and aboveground on the protected land will remain where they currently are.
  4. Aboriginal citizens will be allowed to harvest what they need in small and reasonable amounts for personal use, and all citizens who are camping or whatnot should be able to do the same.
  5. This land is to be maintained and restored so that it is as healthy and diverse as possible.
  6. It is to be extensively researched so that we better understand the nature of the ecosystems and wildlife that comprise it.
  7. All Canadians are allowed to inhabit this land on temporary and net-zero carbon structures.

As for climate change, in order to meet the Paris targets, we must aim to be carbon neutral by 2024. Most of our target dates are set for 2030, and so we only have to shorten the timeline by six years. If we do not aim for 2024, we will most likely not succeed in staying below 2 degrees of warming, the models show us. The government of Canada has not put out any information showing how their goals will bring us directly to the targets in time, and I believe that this is because they have not set ambitious enough goals to make good on the Paris treaty. We have already started the transition to zero carbon, as seen in the government report, Achieving a Sustainable Future. We must simply do it much more quickly and on an even grander scale.

And regarding how to pay for this I propose that we issue a new kind of bond, Nature Bonds, to fund it. I know that Canada recently made the decision to end the Canadian Savings bonds program, but what I am suggesting is a way to directly involve our citizens in our efforts, and it is an opportunity that cannot go ignored. I would like to remind you of the success of our private refugee sponsorship program, and I think that this bond program will allow us to accomplish similar successes with the environment. I am also thinking of war bonds, which are a capitalistic way of allowing individuals and corporations to raise funds for a common, patriotic goal. However, I want it to be clear that nature bonds would not be a privatization of government. They are a way for citizens to enable government initiatives that otherwise would not get the necessary financing.

Please note that the projects funded by the bond must have a clause in their contracts saying that if the project is not finished by 2024, there is no payment.

Despite a large investment on the part of the present government, we will not meet our Paris agreements if we go on like this. This bond will create the money that we need to invest in our society in order to create this fundamental shift. I cannot guarantee that all the benefits of investing in our society like this will create a monetary return in the traditional sense. However, it is not about the return on investment in the normal sense of getting whatever percentage on the money one originally puts in. The real return on investment in this case is preserving the earth for future generations.

I know that as a society newly come of age, we wish to prove to the world and to ourselves what are capable of. We have an opportunity to be visionaries, as we were in the making of historic moments such as at Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach, in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as peacekeepers in the Suez Crisis, and the signing of the Paris Agreement. We must do the seemingly impossible, and use the rich resources of our land, and the resourcefulness of our people in order to reverse this massive destruction of life. We must choose to protect our wildlife, our atmosphere, and an entire generation, not because it is an easy feat, but because it is hard, because it is a challenge that Canadians are willing to accept, one that we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

The Age of Consequences: Screening and Panel Discussion — Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Climate change may no longer be a choice, but we still have a choice of consequences. What will we choose: War or Peace?


THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES investigates the impacts of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability.
Join us for a screening of this compelling documentary by the award winning directors of REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM. Participate in an engaging discussion with a panel of distinguished experts, to explore the implications of climate change from a peace and justice perspective.

Through unflinching case-study analysis, distinguished admirals, generals and military veterans take us beyond the headlines of the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, the rise of radicalized groups like ISIS, and the European refugee crisis — and lay bare how climate change stressors interact with societal tensions, sparking conflict… Whether a long-term vulnerability or sudden shock, the film unpacks how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather, and sea-level rise function as ‘accelerants of instability’ and ‘catalysts for conflict’ in volatile regions of the world… The film’s unnerving assessment is by no means reason for fatalism — but instead a call to action to rethink how we use and produce energy.

(The Age of Consequences, Synopsis)

Panel members:

Photo of Rick Cober Bauman, ED of MCC Ontario 
Rick Cober Bauman, Executive Director – Mennonite Central Committee Ontario. Rick has served with MCC for 26 years, including 3 years in Labrador in the Innu Community of Sheshatshit, and the last 7 1/2 years as Executive Director of MCC Ontario. This experience has brought him into contact with many stories of relief, development and peace around the world. Rick works in the Kitchener office, but is available across Ontario.
Photo of Simon Dalby, CIGI chair and Balsillie School of International Affairs

Simon Dalby, CIGI Chair in the Political Economy of Climate Change, Balsillie School of International Affairs. Simon is also the Acting Chair of the Master in International Public Policy program, and Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. His published research deals with climate change, political ecology, geopolitics, global security, environmental change, militarization and the spatial dimensions of governance.
Photo of Jessica West, Project Officer at Project Ploughshares

Jessica West, Program Officer at Project Ploughshares. Jessica is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Global Governance program at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University, who is pursuing a specialization in conflict and security studies. She has a Master’s of Arts degree in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Jessica managed an international research project on space security and served as the editor of its annual publication as part of her role at Project Ploughshares.

When: Tuesday, 28 March 2017 6:30pm-9:30pm
Where: Conrad Grebel University College, 140 Westmount Road North, Waterloo Map

Please register at Age of Consequences – Film Screening and Panel Discussion Tickets | Eventbrite


This is a free event. Refreshments will be served.

Events – Divest Waterloo

Eleanor Grant comments on Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan

Conservation — Good But We Can Do Better

I greatly appreciate Ontario’s efforts to help homeowners with the cost of conservation measures such as more efficient furnaces and better windows. I also appreciate efforts to build more transit and reduce car use. Much more needs to be done to reach northern communities. Please restore Ontario Northland rail service and expand it. And please do everything possible to expedite rail service on the Kitchener line.

Electricity Supply Mix — Greatly Increase Renewable

The decision to back out of contracts for renewable energy was short-sighted. Please revisit these contracts and ask whether the subsidies could be reduced or eliminated, now that costs are rapidly falling. What Ontario REALLY needs to do is invest in large-scale renewable energy as a public corporation, as we did a hundred years ago with Niagara. Costs are now becoming manageable to buy in and operate such facilities in the public interest. Dalton McGuinty should not have backed down on off-shore wind. Please recommit to off-shore wind, with the lessons learned about obtaining buy-in and participation from affected communities. Please make it easier for small producers to provide their own on-site generation and/or be paid for feeding into the grid. This is the appropriate role for the private sector, NOT the ownership of megaprojects. Encourage local co-ops, First Nations, and municipalities to generate renewable power for local use, including micro hydro. I was pleased to hear that Ontario is entering into agreements with Quebec and Manitoba to purchase hydro power from them. Given all of these real and potential opportunities to increase the renewable supply share, Ontario should set a target for 100% Renewable.

Electricity Supply Mix — Phase Out Nuclear

The Ministry discussion guide states that Ontario plans to rely on nuclear power for the foreseeable future for baseload capacity. Sinking billions more into Darlington and Bruce, and squeezing more years out of Pickering, seems like a huge waste of money. Not to speak of the proximity to population centres and the still unknown cost of future disposal of radioactive waste. We must stop refurbishing Darlington, and set a target for getting out of nuclear power. A combination of local renewable generation, rapidly improving storage technology, and an overall shifting toward conservation and publicly owned large-scale renewable would make possible an increasing share of baseload capacity being reliably borne by renewable sources. Phasing out nuclear is doable.

Public Ownership Is Key — Start By Buying Back Hydro One

Note that leasing out Bruce Power – so that a foreign company could reap profits from operating it while leaving the cost of decommissioning the plant and disposing of the waste to the public – was a bad deal for hydro consumers and the public purse. As for Hydro One, taxpayers are losing hundreds of millions in revenue in perpetuity by selling it. We also lose influence and control, since there’s nothing to stop the shares from being sold and resold and eventually amalgamated by a many-steps-removed foreign investor. Seriously what could Ontario do to stop that from happening? Ontario is going to need a set of policies to facilitate: transmission of power from Quebec and Manitoba, transmission to First Nations and remote communities, transmission to the Ring of Fire, “net metering” with small producers, and possibly the cession of more control over local generation. ALL of these policies are likely to be resisted by private owners. Note as well, that many Local Distributing Companies are in danger of being bought up by Hydro One, resulting in massive loss of municipal control as Hydro One passes to private owners. It’s hard to imagine anything much more short-sighted than losing the ownership of our electricity grid. It’s costly to the treasury, and forecloses on the policy options we will need to prepare for the future. Ontario must reverse course right now, stop any more IPOs of shares in Hydro One, and diligently buy back what has been sold.

Those Rising Costs — Green Energy Is Not The Cause

Ontarians would be willing to pay if we were building public assets for the future, in which we could all take pride and hope. We are not willing to pay for subsidies to large players in a market that’s already shifting toward renewables in terms of costs and profitability. We are not willing to pay for keeping Pickering alive while selling surplus power at a loss. We are not willing to pay for refurbishing Darlington when cheaper alternatives exist. We are not willing to pay for the loss of public revenue that was ours from Hydro One, and for the exorbitant salaries of consultants and managers to handle the privatization. We are not willing to risk also losing our LDCs and municipal control over them.

Conclusion — Reducing Costs And Raising The Funds

Transitioning to 21st century energy will take investment, in renewable projects, transit, EV charging networks, and more. The cost of doing this can be reduced by committing to phase out nuclear, by recommitting to public power and getting rid of corporate subsidies, and by buying INTO renewables now that the cost is falling. But the public will still have to raise funds, perhaps through a mix of a modest increase in rates (not like the ones we’ve seen — many of these need to be investigated and rolled back), combined with a modest increase in income taxes (people might have more trust if the levy were earmarked), the promotion of Green Bonds, and the facilitation of hundreds of local co-ops. There are solutions, lots of them, if public trust is regained. I hope to have shown here some ways that the general public and government can happily work together to build a 21st century long-term energy plan for Ontario.

Toxic Tour 2016 Invite — 21 August 2016, Sarnia

From Esther Kern, CPT Canada Coordinator:

Here is an opportunity to learn more about the Indigenous community, within our own geographical area. I plan to attend on the Friday and Saturday, and for anyone coming from a distance, you are welcome to stay at our home in London, either before travelling to Sarnia, or after the event. I can also provide transportation to Sarnia for at least four people and we can discuss more details later if you decide to participate. I hope to see you there!

Best regards,

Esther Kern

CPT Canada Coordinator

Phone: +1-416-423-5525


From: Aamjiwnaang/Sarnia Against Pipelines <>
Sent: 22 July 2016 19:25
Subject: Toxic Tour 2016 Invite


Toxic Tour Teaser Trailer:

Toxic Tour 2016 is happening August 21st, 2016 and starting at 8:00am. This year will start off at:

1972 Virgil Ave Map
Sarnia, ON
N7T 7Y9

Come to experience Canada’s Petro-chemical Industry first hand. On this tour you will be able to learn history, what refineries are in the chemical valley, what they produce, and so much more. Witness the pollution with your own eyes, ears, noses, and feel what it has done to our land and our people. This year will be a two hour bus tour around the entire site of Chemical Valley and Aamjiwnaang.

This is an open event to anyone and any group and doesn’t cost a thing. We can provided free camping over night for the 20th of August. Meals are included for the day with vegan, vegetarian, and traditional meat options and are free. We ask you to bring Camping gear if you are camping. Your own plate, utensils, and cup or water holder. Tobacco to offer thanks to the Water, Bundles or sacred items are welcome, gifts for elders.

This is a free event and everyone is welcome

You can register at: Toxic Tour Registration

Sign up for the event on Facebook: Toxic Tour 2016 | Facebook


The Agenda

  • 8:00-9:30 — Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:30 — Opening
  • 10:30-12:30 — Toxic Tour (classes)
  • 12:30-2:00 — Lunch
  • 2:00-4:00 — Toxic Tour(classes)
  • 4:00-600 — Ending

The classes will be announced soon.

Things that I should be aware of before I go?

No alcohol or drugs are to be brought to this gathering, no photographs are to be taken when ceremony are happening. This is a welcoming gathering to all, so no discrimination, but respect is to be shown to everyone.


Contact for further questions and concerns.

Take a Toxic Tour of Canada's Chemical Valley -- August 21, 2016, starts 8:00am

Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering — 19-20 August 2016, Sarnia

From Esther Kern, CPT Canada Coordinator:

Here is an opportunity to learn more about the Indigenous community, within our own geographical area. I plan to attend on the Friday and Saturday, and for anyone coming from a distance, you are welcome to stay at our home in London, either before travelling to Sarnia, or after the event. I can also provide transportation to Sarnia for at least four people and we can discuss more details later if you decide to participate. I hope to see you there!

Best regards,

Esther Kern

CPT Canada Coordinator

Phone: +1-416-423-5525


From: Aamjiwnaang/Sarnia Against Pipelines <>
Sent: 22 July 2016 19:25
Subject: Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering


The Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering is welcoming all ages to come to learn water teachings from Aamjiwnaang and area’s teachers. This event is free of charge, happening August 19-20, 2016 at

1972 Virgil Ave Map
Sarnia, Ontario
N7T 7Y9

This gathering is focusing on teaching why water is sacred.

This gathering is going to hold many opportunities to learn and grow. There will be classes like Language, History, How to Organize, Craft Classes, and many more. This is a great opportunity for everyone to experience and be apart of. It creates an open and welcoming space to learn. To also look at next steps.

The event starts everyday 8:00am and ends everyday 8:00pm. Camping is free! Camping will be offered for two days, the start date is 19 August 2016 and will end at the 21st of August, 2016. The camping area will offer a campsite, no electricity on campsites, common area Port–a Potty, shower rooms (during the community center’s hours) and Water Areas, and the community center beside the camp/ park area will be open from 8:00am – 8:00pm everyday. For camping bring camping gear, your own plate, utensils, and cup or water holder. Free meals including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With Vegan, Vegetarian, and traditional meats.

You can also bring tobacco to offer thanks to the Water, Bundles or sacred items are welcome, gifts for elders.

The classes look like:

Day 1

  • Language
  • History of Aamjiwnaang
  • History of Chemical Valley
  • History of Indigenous Movements
  • Why is water sacred?
  • 7 Grandfather Teachings
  • Two-spirited people
  • Medicine bag
  • Local plants

Day 2

  • Art
  • Line 9
  • Green Peace Training
  • How to organize an event
  • Water Project
  • Medicine wheel
  • Environmental Racism
  • Next steps

The schedule will look like:

Day 1

  • 8:00-9:30 — Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:30 — Opening
  • 10:30-11:30 — Class
  • 11:30-12:00 — Break
  • 12:00-1:30 — Lunch
  • 1:30-2:30 — Class
  • 2:30-3:00 — Break
  • 3:00-4:00 — Class
  • 4:00-5:00 — Social
  • 5:00-6:30 — Dinner
  • 6:30-8:00 — Movie

Day 2

  • 8:00-9:30 — Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:30 — Class
  • 10:30-11:00 — Break
  • 11:00-12:00 — Class
  • 12:00-1:30 — Lunch
  • 1:30-2:30 — Class
  • 2:30-3:00 — Break
  • 3:00-4:00 — Class
  • 4:00-5:00 — Social
  • 5:00-6:30 — Dinner

Things that I should be aware of before I go?

No alcohol or drugs are to be brought to this gathering, no photographs are to be taken when ceremonies are happening. This is a welcoming gathering to all, so no discrimination, but respect is to be shown to everyone.


Contact for further questions and concerns.

Please fill out the registration online form.


Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering, August 19-20 2016, Maawn Doosh Gumig, 1972 Virgin Ave., Sarnia, ON; Camping sites and food will be available

Letter to the City of Waterloo on Zoning and Affordable Housing

To Waterloo staff and councillors:

Thank you for the opportunity to give input on the review of our zoning bylaw.

My response pertains mainly to Residential zones. At the end I’ll add some brief ideas on Commercial and Employment zones.

These are the underlying assumptions I am bringing regarding what kind of residential areas would be desirable to live in:

  • Remember that we are building neighbourhoods.
  • Every neighbourhood needs to include green spaces and gathering spaces that facilitate casual encounters with one’s neighbours.
  • Neighbourhood green spaces should be small, frequent, and linked together if possible — user-friendly.
  • Every neighbourhood needs to be walkable and cyclable. No overly long blocks should be allowed, especially if they block access to amenities. Where these mistakes have already happened — on Lester St. and Marshall St. — the city must do its utmost to buy back an easement to insert a walkway. Plus easements to continue these walkways right through to the LRT station beyond Phillip St. and from Lodge St. to the plaza. Extremely important that we find a way to do this.
  • Neighbourhoods would also benefit from having a community centre. Please zone in space for them. Make sure that a conversation is open between staff working on zoning and those developing a neighbourhood strategy.
  • Fewer parking spaces should be required for houses, apartments, and condos.
  • Many apartments and condos could be offered without parking. That is, less than one parking spot per unit.
  • In fact a maximum number of cars should be set, because of the nuisance that cars pose to neighbours. In the vicinity of my house several driveways are being used as parking lots for multiple cars, continually coming and going, so that it’s never peaceful to go to my front yard. I think anything above two cars on a residential lot should have to pay some kind of fee or penalty.
  • What this city lacks most is housing for the whole bottom half of the market, everyone from median income on down. No one is building for them. The young, the pensioners, and the people who serve us coffee, take care of the elderly, clean offices, and provide security at events, should be able to live among us in decency. Providing for this huge demographic should be a prime goal of zoning bylaws. We especially lack lower-end rental units.
  • Every neighbourhood should be planned to include a mix of income levels, and a mix of ownership and rentals.
  • As soon as Inclusionary Zoning becomes available in Ontario — expected in fall 2016 — Waterloo should make use of it for all new development.
  • If density bonusing is used (and I’m not sure it ever should be), the green space and/or affordable housing created should have to be in the same neighbourhood.
  • In traditional neighbourhoods we should make it easier to create secondary units, frequently without parking, to bring lots of affordable housing onstream.
  • And why should we care if a family wishes to use a one-bedroom-plus-den unit as two bedrooms to make it affordable for them? The city should not be in the business of harassing and micromanaging people. Making developers change dens to dining rooms will prevent all residents from having a home office/computer room or guest room. We should do a lot less micromanaging!
  • Finally, every neighbourhood should be visually appealing and where possible reflect the uniqueness of Waterloo and its heritage. New development should fit its context.

I hope these assumptions I’m coming from are also shared by Waterloo officials. How might they apply to the specifics of the zoning bylaw?

Discussion Paper on GENERAL REGULATIONS 2.10 Secondary Dwellings

If a house is spacious enough, why couldn’t it have a basement apartment and/or a coach house unit and/or an upstairs apartment or main floor addition, or even all of these?

Why should it matter that an apartment or coach house be with a detached house and not a semi-detached or townhouse?

Why couldn’t municipal services be connected up to a detached garage in the future (at the owner’s expense); why should the connection have to have existed prior to this bylaw?

Why should it matter what percentage of the floor area of the main dwelling the secondary dwelling is?

Why should every added unit have to have parking?

What DOES matter is that there be adequate green space on the property, that the added units meet standards of safety, space, and decency, and that noise bylaws be enforced. The lot frontage doesn’t matter. Whether the entrance faces the street or the side yard doesn’t matter. We need to pick our battles, so to speak.

I think we should encourage house designs that lend themselves to the future creation of accessory apartments. Give people choice. If a family wishes to create a unit for an elderly parent or a grown child, or both — or if a young homeowner or a widow wishes to add a “mortgage helper” apartment — make it easy to do these things. It should be expected that people will do it. Get rid of the rules that don’t matter. Allow there to be some units designated as no parking.

In this way hundreds of affordable accommodations could be added in the city very quickly, blending into their neighbourhoods and with no ghettoization.


As above, we should anticipate greater density being added by homeowners over the years, and don’t let rules about bedrooms per hectare restrict this too much. It’s the gentlest way to increase density and provide much needed affordable housing.


I’ve only been able to view a map covering from Erb Street to University Avenue so it’s hard for me to pinpoint locations in the rest of the city.

I think our city needs more RMU-20 throughout the city to provide affordable rentals, now that the province allows frame construction up to six storeys. Not having to provide costly underground parking should allow more affordable units to be built. Don’t require a parking spot for every unit, especially Uptown.

Two good locations for RMU-20 are close to me in the core: Bridgeport Road between Peppler Street and Laurel Creek, and the houses just north of 151 King Street North.

Please change the zoning of 151-161 King Street North so that 151 with its tasteful-density additions is preserved, and the homes between there and the 12-storey building on the corner are designated RMU-20. Best use for that location.

The Bridgeport Road site could have RMU-20 closest to the homes on Peppler, and could step up to RMU-40 nearer the creek. I hope the city will facilitate removing the H provision where the gas station used to be (in front of the carpet warehouse). A good site for development, but not 25 storeys.

These suggestions would both decrease an 81 to a 20. But I’m happy to see an upgrade to RMU-20 proposed for Weber Street, Bridgeport/Royal, and Erb Street East and West. Another spot that should be upgraded to RMU-20 is the apartments at 29 Elgin Street — I’m not sure why it’s shown as R4 on the map. I would also be OK with some R-8 townhouses on King Street between Central Street and 151 King Street North, blending in with 151. That could fit nicely. Alternatively this corner might be a good location for a community centre serving both MacGregor-Albert and Uptown North. Something to think about.

I don’t think there should be any RMU-81 on King between Elgin and Noecker, and perhaps Marshall. (What happened at King/Noecker/James is a ghastly mistake, and I believe the city owes SERIOUS restitution to the St. Sofia church congregation for permitting this encroachment.) I suggest we need a category in between RMU-40 and RMU-81. Say RMU-50, which would allow 14 or 15 storeys. Existing neighbourhoods could more easily live with that.

Less than one parking space per unit should be required, in all of the above. Mandate more and better bicycle parking (this shouldn’t be a “bonus” point but basic). And we need to keep pushing the Region for better transit and be willing to contribute more revenue for it.

So I’m saying: more RMU 20, more allowance for accessory units in R 1-4, less parking, more bike parking, and no 25-storey towers: change RMU-81 to RMU-50.

This option is more affordable for everyone, allows neighbourhoods to feel coherent, and preserves the character of the city.

Discussion Paper on OPEN SPACE …

I like the vision of “urban open space system within built-up areas”. But I didn’t see anything about improving general walkability by avoiding overly long blocks.

Walk/cycle links need to be restored where poor planning in the recent past failed to provide for them: Hickory, Lester, Phillip to LRT and Brighton, Marshall, Lodge to plaza. This must be a high priority, so neighbourhoods can breathe again.

As mentioned above, it is urgent that the city buy an easement for a walkway close to the end of Hickory Street, or else all of Northdale will be locked in forever and frustrating to live in. And make sure the walkway continues all the way to the LRT station and University of Waterloo campus, with some green space along the way.

As for Lodge Street, there’s still time to acquire the land and build a walkway from Lodge Street to the plaza, while working to find a way to get an easement through to Marshall. Please make this a priority.

The ditch running behind University Plaza is a good potential place for green space. Would it be possible to extend it out to Weber and to Regina? This would provide more foot and bike access to the plaza, reducing bicycles on University. A footbridge (or several) over the ditch to the plaza, some trees and stone benches, and a walkway out to Lodge Street and eventually Marshall and Brighton … Please act now to make this happen! Put it on the zoning map. It could be a gem.

A parkette would also be the best use of the low land around the art gallery between Regina and Peppler. And it could eventually be linked across Peppler to Brighton Park. Please pencil it in and work toward assembling it over the years.

These are two or three examples of walking links and green space potential in my immediate neighbourhood. And are there any plans to complete Laurel Trail from Weber Street to Moses Springer Park? Just five or six houses …

Much more could be done with Laurel Creek uptown as well, as regards green space.

Parkettes need to be an integral part of all future development. As mentioned above, it should not be allowed to “horse-trade” parkland fees for green space far away; the green space should have to be where the development is. Same goes for affordable housing; it should have to be on the site.

Affordable housing, walkability, and green space. Zoning can do so much to enhance them all. In these ways we can build future neighbourhoods that feel safe and fostering for all the diverse ages, incomes, cultures, household types, and occupations of people who will live here.

Here are two articles on visioning urban growth that I found inspirational:

Density at a Human Scale, by Kaid Benfield:

Zoning for Happiness in Edmonton:

And new info: Ontario’s Climate Action Plan will legislate away cities’
ability to require parking minimums:

Let me conclude with a few thoughts on Commercial and Employment zones:

Less parking! Less parking! Less parking! I support the points regarding parking made by TriTAG at:

Employment districts in north Waterloo need much better bike and bus access. They need to be much better integrated with the city and include mixed uses.

I also think we need a rule that nothing can be built that’s only one storey. Industrial “parks” are huge space wasters. If production needs to be on one level, some other use could be built above.

There also need to be strong incentives to include on-site renewable energy and green roofs.

Thank you for your time in considering all these suggestions regarding how Waterloo should grow. Our residential areas, and commercial and employment areas too, should promote neighbourliness and inclusion, and commitment to place, and good stewardship.

Eleanor Grant

Welcome to the new home for KWPeace

KWPeace logo
Thanks to the sponsorship of Educators for Justice and the generosity of web hosting provider CCj/Clearline the KW Peace blog has moved to a new site at

An initiative of the Kitchener Waterloo Peace and Social Justice Community Symposium, the new site gives more flexibility to add things like a comprehensive calendar of all Peace and Social Justice events in the Kitchener–Waterloo area, and mailing lists for the KW Peace groups to coordinate those events.

Thank you for joining us on our new site!

–Bob Jonkman,
KWPeace Blog System Administrator.

Global Climate March — Sunday, 29 November 2015

Join us to send a powerful message of encouragement and hope in support of decisive action in COP21
This year a massive coalition of environmental, social justice, faith, labour, community, student and indigenous groups, as well as families and concerned citizens are building an unprecedented global mobilization in support of climate justice.

On Sunday, 29 November 2015 people from across Waterloo Region will join with voices from around the world to show our support for ambitious and real action against climate change at COP21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, is our most important climate conference yet.

Come together with neighbours and friends to send a powerful message of encouragement and hope in support of decisive action at COP21. Sound your drums and raise your voices in solidarity with people from around the globe. Be part of an historic event at this most important juncture in the climate movement.

Join us on 21 and 22 November 2015 to make posters and art for the march (location to be determined).

WHAT: Peaceful family-friendly march in advance of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, 30 November to 11 December 2015.

WHEN: Sunday, 29 November 2015 2:00pm

WHERE: Start at Waterloo Public Square, 75 King St S, Waterloo Map
End at 22 Willow Street.

Register at Avaaz: Peoples Climate March Waterloo Region to receive updates about the march and the art build, or to volunteer.

This event was forwarded to me from several sources; this text was taken from the Divest Waterloo Events web page.

If you’re on Facebook, you can join the event at Global Climate March – Waterloo Region | Facebook.


March for Jobs Justice and the Climate, Sunday, 5 July 2015 in Toronto

People marching in the street
March for Jobs Justice and the Climate
A large rally is planned in Toronto for jobs, justice and the climate.

If you would like to attend but don’t want to drive, there is a bus going from Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph.

Read more about the rally and sign up for the bus on the Facebook page March for Jobs, Justice & the Climate. More information is available at March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate web site.

Canada needs a new economy that works for people and the planet

From Alberta to the coasts, Canada is ready for an economy that creates good jobs for all, protects the air, land and water, and tackles climate change.

We don’t have to choose between the economy or the environment. By taking climate action, we can create an economy that is more fair and equal and generates hundreds of thousands of good green jobs. It means supporting the labour that takes care of people and the planet — education, healthcare, childcare and the protection of the land, much of it done by women. It means expanding localized agricultural systems to use less fossil fuels and provide affordable, nutritious food for everyone in Canada.

We want an economy in which workers earn a living wage – starting with a $15 minimum – and which prioritizes people who are unemployed, struggling in precarious, temporary, or non-unionized jobs or in industries being shut down. Which honours Indigenous peoples’ rights and recognizes their role in protecting the land, air and water for everyone. Which guarantees migrant and undocumented people are not excluded and receive full immigration status. Which ensures that black and brown lives matter as much as white ones and are free of racism and police violence. Which respects the limits of the environment made clear by climate science.

Climate action means protecting and expanding public control over our energy systems to ensure cheaper rates and a transition to clean energy sources. It also means building affordable, energy-efficient housing and better public transit.

This July, Toronto will host a Pan American Climate Summit and an Economic Summit, where politicians will face a choice: listen to corporate leaders from across the Americas gathering to advance an economic austerity agenda that is increasing inequality and causing a climate crisis felt disproportionally in the global south – or listen to the people.

On the eve of those summits, let’s make sure they hear our demands: a justice-based transition to a new energy economy, in which corporate polluters pay and ordinary people benefit.

The only way to overcome a small, powerful group who have a lot to lose is to build a massive movement of people with everything to gain.

On Sunday July 5, join the March for Jobs, Justice & the Climate in the streets of Toronto.