ecoNeighbourhood Update (June, 2020)

Mount Dennis ecoNeighbourhood Update, June 2020

After the enthusiastic start for our Neighbourhood Climate Action Project with the Mount Dennis Town Hall on Government Climate Plans, help February 26, 2020, our efforts to organize the Climate Action Summit this Springtime were overtaken by the COVID-19 emergency.  It is still uncertain when Toronto’s social distancing regulations will be relaxed, but we are hoping it will be possible to hold our participatory community event in the fall.

Meanwhile, progress is being made towards meeting ecoNeighbourhood goals on a wide range of topics including transportation, energy, buildings, waste management, environmental health and the green economy.  Here are some significant examples:

  • Since agreeing in 2015 to electrify the rail corridor that runs through Mount Dennis, Metrolinx has had a stated goal of replacing the diesel trains now used for GO Rail and UP Express services with electric trains by 2025.  Infrastructure Ontario has recently issued tenders for improvements to this corridor and for service connections to the new Mount Dennis Mobility Hub.  They are calling for alternative solutions using two technologies, overhead grid connection or on-board hydrogen fuel cells.
  • DynaCert, an innovative green manufacturer in Mount Dennis, locally produces a hydrogen injection system that makes diesel engines of all sizes more energy efficient with lower unwanted emissions.  DynaCert recently announced a major order from the US for its HydroGEN units
  • Two years ago, a committee of knowledgeable local cyclists (including several MDCA Board members) worked with Councillor Nunziata and her staff to send City Council wide-ranging  plans for improving conditions for cycling in our area. Later this year the City is expected to start building a bike lane from Jane St. to Weston Rd. (mostly along the north side of Eglinton). Bike lanes further east along Eglinton to are expected to be in place by the time the LRT opens in 2022.
  • The City of Toronto recently awarded a planning contract to guide future development activity in our area. The Mount Dennis Land Use Planning Framework Study will be carried out by the highly regarded consultant Perkins + Will, which has already started work. Number 2 on their project’s list of twelve objectives is “to support establishing Mount Dennis as an ecoNeighbourhood”.
  • Partners in Project Green have been holding a series of webinars on linking the environment to the economy. Here is a link to their latest, Building a Business Case for Green Infrastructure. The Black Creek Channel along the south end of Mount Dennis is Toronto’s highest flood risk area, and fixing it could revitalize the Alliance Avenue business area.
  • Community Benefits are a feature in tendering for government contracts. It creates employment, training and small business opportunities for people from “priority neighbourhoods” such as Mount Dennis. Members of MDCA’s Board are among the people who have been actively working to make sure Community Benefits become an integrated part of the economic system. Unfortunately, lobbyists for private contractors are pressuring Ottawa to remove such provisions. Part of creating a sustainable economy in an ecoNeighbourhood is ensuring that opportunities are inclusive and prosperity is shared equitably.  Please help maintain Community Benefits as government policy as it stimulates economic recovery.