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Sustainability in Oakville, Ontario


Bronte Harbour is a predominant image of Oakville (file photo)
Bronte Harbour is a predominant image of Oakville (file photo)

Cheryl Santa Maria, staff writer

July 20, 2012 — Three years after rolling out its sustainability policy, Oakville, Ontario continues to live the green life -- landing it on the radar of numerous policy makers and sustainabilty experts.

Oakville community leaders hope to reduce the carbon footprint of all town operations and events to zero
Oakville community leaders hope to reduce the carbon footprint of all town operations and events to zero

Back in June, Oakville city council was presented with 11 awards for its environmental initiatives -- accolades that join an already-impressive collection amassed by community leaders.

Oakville appears to be on-track toward meeting its goal of becoming "the most liveable town in Canada" -- a plan that was set in motion back in April, 2009, following the publication of a new environmental policy.

According to Cindy Toth, Oakville's Director of Environmental Policy, steps have been taken to 'green' the community's transportation fleet and make sustainable purchases  -- all while trying to reduce the carbon footprint of town operations and events to zero.

"We're making great strides towards bringing green building into everyday operations," she told The Weather Network back in February, upon being presented with a sustainable communities award.

Clean air and wildlife conservation strategies are also in the works -- and the preliminary groundwork has been promising.

Earlier this month, Oakville Harbours became the first municipal marina to achieve a diamond rating for its Clean Marine program and for the day-to-day operation of the Bronte and Oakville harbours.

Heather Turenne, manager for Oakville's harbours and cemeteries division, calls the award a "huge success" that represents the end-result of years of strategy development, hard work and community support.

According to Turenne, the harbours were audited on 200 individual environmental initiatives by a third-party firm. It took roughly three years to get the area up to diamond standards.

"As a lakeside community, the harbours are a valued asset and have played a large role in the history and heritage of the town," Turenne says. "They connect residents to the waterfront and in many respects they are the predominant image of Oakville."

And the outreach is far from complete.

"We're interested in sustainability and preservation initiatives in all aspects of its community building," Turenne says.

"We have many ideas for the future."

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