Entries in sustainability (2)


Peterborough rallies around a mindset close to its heart

Monday night Peterborough City Council endorsed the actions of a pilot project that is examining mid-size cities.  The focus of the remainder of the project will be to “strategically position Peterborough as a green/sustainable community and economy”. It's a mindset that connects Peterborough and its residents to the natural beauty of the area.  We pride ourselves on being a community close to nature in a number of ways.  This mindset is used to sell our community to businesses, professionals and tourists.  It's a mindset that makes Peterborough a great place in which to live, work and play. 

The project, led by Evergreen, a national charitable organization, and a local steering committee of John Good, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, Ken Doherty, Director of Community Services for the City of Peterborough, Sandra Dueck, Policy Analyst for the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, and  more recently Rhonda Keenan, President & CEO of Peterborough Economic Development, has been working over the past year to examine Peterborough's role as a mid-size city and how its needs could potentially influence provincial policy. 

The Evergreen Group received provincial funding for the project from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and chose to examine Peterborough, Sudbury and London to determine the needs of mid-size cities.  Mid-size cities for the purpose of the pilot program were defined as urban areas with a population of 50-500,000 people.  It was also recognized that mid-size cities play varying roles. In Peterborough's case, it is a city centre with its own autonomous economy, while providing services in health care, employment and education to the region. 

How did the stakeholder group decide to hone in on a regional area of focus around Peterborough as a green/sustainable community and economy?

Three meetings were held in Peterborough between March and April 2016.  The groups were put through a series of asset mapping and visioning exercises around 12 opportunities for action that could be applied to mid-size cities.  Out of those meetings, participants gravitated toward three opportunities for action:


  1. Develop Programs And Strategies to Better Leverage Underutilized Human Capital
  2. Build on Existing Municipal And Community Leadership to Drive Action
  3. Develop a Regional & Economic Roadmap Around an Area of Focus


It was felt that opportunity number one was already being serviced by the new Local Employment Planning Council and that number two would require an advisory committee of sorts and Peterborough “is flush with committees”. 

Further discussion led the conversation to a number of projects starting or underway in Peterborough relating to the green and/or sustainable economy.  Sustainable Peterborough is the lead organization helping to develop climate change action plans for the city, county, 12 townships and three First Nations.  The planned Trent Research & Innovation Park is aiming to have a green tech focus and the City of Peterborough is working on a new shaping the future document based on four pillars including sustainability.  Part of Peterborough Economic Development’s mandate is sustainability and the Chamber of Commerce and GreenUP have teamed up for the Green Business Peterborough program.  There is also a group led by GreenUP putting together a proposal to be designated a UNESCO Region of Expertise for Environmental Education.  

The next steps in the project are to continue mapping out all of the green and/or sustainable projects that are happening in Peterborough city and county and to examine other jurisdictions that have adopted this area of focus.  

The work of the Peterborough group does not stop at this opportunity for action.  Participants in the three stakeholder meetings also discussed the role of the province in ensuring that mid-size cities have the
opportunity to thrive.  The outcomes of this discussion included a desire for more flexibility and opportunity to recognize the unique role of mid-size cities.  The next steps in this part of the process will culminate in a mid-size cities forum to be held in the spring of 2017. 

The exciting part of this mid-size cities project is the realization that Peterborough, through the uncoordinated actions of many, has been travelling down the same pathway to a similar goal.  The challenge will be to use that momentum to our advantage at the provincial level. 


Policy Forum 2014: Sustainability = Quality of Place

“Peterborough City and County are our home and as such must be sustainable on many levels.”   This concept is what the discussion revolved around at the table for ‘Creating a Sustainable City’.  In the end, the group said it comes down to quality of place.  Does Peterborough have a healthy economy, a healthy environment, a healthy society and healthy culture? 

The discussion was part of a policy forum hosted by the Young Professionals Group (YPG) of the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.  It was based on an article by best-selling author, economist, thought leader and current Chancellor of Trent University, Don Tapscott. The article called “As Toronto dithers, Guelph sets sights on 21st century” was first published in the Toronto Star on Friday, October 17, 2014. Seven key areas for improving a community were identified:


  1. Promoting Entrepreneurship to Achieve Prosperity 
  2. Open Government
  3. Turning Public Safety Inside Out
  4. Rethinking Transportation 
  5. Creating a Sustainable City
  6. Transforming Social Services
  7. Reinventing Local Democracy


So far in this seven-part series we have revealed the table discussions on entrepreneurship, open government,
reinventing local democracy, public safety and transforming social services.

Entrepreneurship wrapped up with a call for a coordinated strategy.  Having an official strategy would allow all
interest groups to map out the united front on entrepreneurship the community wants to present to its own residents, the province and beyond. 

Open government revealed six recommendations in total including two quick wins: 1. Putting the councillor
handbook online as a guide to government for all residents and 2. Using external language vs. internal language to communicate better with residents and businesses. 

The discussion around reinventing local democracy led to a call for community-building activities, such as a parallel council and highlighting Peterborough’s community areas to continue to engage all residents. 

The group at the table discussing public safety came to the conclusion that when it comes to this issue everyone in the community has a role to play.

The transforming social services discussion concluded that a collaborative approach to social services could lead to a pooling of resources which has the possibility to improve outcomes.

Creating a Sustainable City 

With sustainability defined as “quality of place” for this discussion, the group highlighted the following as happening in Peterborough: 

Healthy Economy
There is ongoing support for the business community through the Chamber of Commerce.  There is support for start-ups and entrepreneurship through Peterborough Economic Development (PED).  There is a wealth of human capital and mentorship opportunities.  These connections and commitments by groups such as the Chamber, PED, the Innovation Cluster, CFDC, Junior Achievement, Trent and Fleming, the New Canadians 

Centre, City and County of Peterborough can put the tools in place for an economically sustainable community.

Healthy Environment
This issue is one that is on many radar screens.  The group believed that protecting our green spaces was important along with policies that reflect environmental concerns as Peterborough develops as a community.

Healthy Society
What are the options when it comes to healthy living?  What are the connections to the land (environment) around Peterborough? 

Healthy Culture
The group felt there has been a cultural  boom in Peterborough recently.  They singled out the music and arts scene as well as an increase in multi-cultural events.  

Game Changers
The group identified the Noble group of companies as a major game changer for Peterborough’s sustainability with their work in the water sector.

The group, led by Ian Attridge of the Kawartha Land Trust, then identified the opportunities for Peterborough and categorized them into quick wins, short-term and long-term goals.

Quick Wins


  • Trent Sustainable Agriculture
    Tapping into student driven initiatives around transportation, food and housing. 
  • Sustainable Health Options
    Taking advantage of more natural remedies, local food growers and groups such as the Holistic Group under the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Green space protection 
  • Residents providing feedback on energy-saving utility programs
  • More uses for grey water  


Short-term Goals


  • Renewable energy 
    Increased use of renewable energies from generation to conservation to storage and demand, including greener public transportation
  • Mentorship
    Focus on improving current mentorship programs, Trent University, Junior Achievement and PED.
  • Green Zoning 
    Encouraged use of Green guidelines, such as LEEDs, for new construction and any conversion of existing buildings. Encourage intensification and build up of downtown space
  • Green Policies
    The group would like to see enforcement support for green policies as well as policies around construction and producer responsibilities. 
  • Sustainability Report
    The group felt the City and County could show leadership in this area by producing a sustainability report similar to a financial report


Long-term Goals

There were three long-term goals identified that could have a positive impact on Peterborough’s sustainability:


  • Household compost pick-up
  • Creating a Peterborough Zoo Bio-gas facility
  • Integrated energy system for heating and cooling, similar to what is currently happening in Guelph.  This project was mentioned in Don Tapscott’s article.  


The group also determined that as with any idea there has to be buy-in from government and the leadership team to promote these concepts and put policies in place that will allow these concepts to grow and flourish.  They concluded that if your quality of place is enhanced through sustainability measures it makes for a more attractive location on many fronts. 

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.