Town of Oakville releases environmental report card to residents

Thu, 05 Feb 2015

Town of Oakville makes the grade for environmental stewardship

The community of Oakville is living up to its promise to be good stewards of the environment, as outlined in the newly released State of the Environment Report Card.

“Council knows that clean air, healthy trees and generous green space are key to Oakville becoming the most livable town in Canada,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “Tracking the town’s environmental progress provides us with valuable information and feedback as we strive to continuously improve the state of our environment.”

The town uses indicators to provide a more practical and economical way to track the state of the environment. Highlights of the report card include:

  • Green space and biodiversity: The town is on track to protect open space and park lands through its official plan policies. Thirty hectares of parkland was added to the town’s inventory.
  • Water quality: Phosphorus levels dropped significantly in all three of the town’s creeks, and for the first time in ten years, all were below the Provincial Water Quality Objective (PWQO) of 0.03 mg/L. Chloride levels also remained below the PWQO of 250 mg/L. A significant contributor to chloride levels is runoff from roadways and salt used during the winter. The town and Halton Region have been steadily decreasing their use of winter salt through a targeted Salt Management Program.
  • Air quality: Ozone remained relatively steady and slight increases were observed in fine particulate matter (PM2.5), although this is likely attributable to the change in monitoring technology that was introduced by the province in 2013.
  • Electricity and gas use: Per capita electricity use continued to decline although residential gas use showed a slight increase which is likely tied to the colder winter temperatures that were experienced in 2013. Focused campaigns to conserve energy by all levels of government, utility companies and environmental organizations have encouraged residents to find ways to save energy which may be a contributing factor to these results.
  • Transportation choices: One of the biggest contributions of greenhouse gas emissions is transportation use. In Halton, vehicle ownership has consistently outpaced population increases since 2007 and continued to do so in 2013. In 2009, significant improvements to Oakville’s transit system led to gains in the number of trips per capita over the last five years, although this has levelled off in the past three years. Overall ridership has shown a substantial increase.
  • Sustainable development: Forty per cent of new homes built in Oakville were single detached compared to 34 per cent townhouses and 26 per cent apartment units. The trend towards increased density has been seen each year in Oakville since 2011.
  • Community health and stewardship: Numerous town programs exist where residents can be both active and contribute to the environment including the Adopt-a-Trail/Park program. Residents formally provided stewardship services for a total of 123 kilometres of trails and 225 hectares of community parkland. The community garden program continues to operate at maximum capacity with sites offered at Shell Park, Kingsford Gardens, Lyons Lane and Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

The State of the Environment Report Card, along with the full 2014 State of the Environment Report (SOER), is available on the State of the Environment Reporting page. Printed copies of the report card are also available at all Oakville Public Libraries, Town Hall and at environmental events throughout the year.

The town’s seventh annual SOER was presented to Council in December 2014, and highlights the town’s progress in preserving and improving our environment in 2013.

For more information on the SOER document, contact Donna Doyle at donna.doyle@oakville.ca or by phone at 905-845-6601, ext. 3898.