On November 21st, City of Thunder Bay representatives met with Earthcare Sustainability Plan community partners, providing these organizations with another chance for input into the City of Thunder Bay draft official plan. EarthCare Community Partners are businesses, organizations, or individuals from the community that have declared their commitment to support the development of the EarthCare Sustainability Plan.
The EarthCare Sustainability Plan is a partnership between the City of Thunder Bay and the Community to address issues associated with:
- community sustainability
- greenhouse gas reduction.
All Earthcare Land Use Recomendations are Included in the Official Plan
Many aspects of the Earthcare Sustainability Plan have been incorporated in the City of Thunder Bay Draft Official Plan. In fact, every one of EarthCare’s recommendations pertaining to land use were incorporated in the plan, as well as many others, like the inclusion of a natural heritage section and a climate adaptation section. There is also inclusion of urban agriculture, wildland urban interface fire maps, and support for 2nd dwelling units and intensification targets to reduce further urban sprawl.
Land use planning plays a significant role in defining built landscapes and shaping the natural landscape. It can be used as a tool to limit the impact of human activities on the environment, as well as to enhance significant cultural aspects of human history. Careful land use planning can facilitate the liveability and sustainability of the built environment benefiting public health, protecting forests and waterways, encouraging active transportation, reducing green house gas emissions, and contributing to the overall aesthetics and well-being of the community.
Earthcare’s mission is to lead the community in securing the environmental health of the region, thereby improving the social, cultural and economic well being of future generations. There are 11 working group’s that operate under the guidance of EarthCare, providing a point of entry for the participation and engagement of the public and other stakeholders in the implementation of the EarthCare Sustainability Plan. Thunder Bay’s Remedial Action Plan, or harbour cleanup plan, is represented on the Water Working Group. Alongside the working groups the EarthCare Advisory Committee to Council advises on overarching implementation of the Sustainability Plan.
Significant contributions by the EarthCare (the EarthWise) working groups were provided in 2012 as part of the official plan review. General recommendations included making green infrastructure a priority, defining natural heritage features, undertaking the environmental policy study, protecting wetlands and environmental protection zones from encroachment and development, also curbing urban sprawl.
Next steps for the Official Plan include adoption by City Council and then implementation, including updating zoning by-laws and site plan controls.