Do you know what goes into creating a sustainable city?
In Vaughan, we’re making tremendous efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and become a climate-friendly city. We’re working hard to achieve every goal in Green Directions Vaughan, the City’s Community Sustainability and Environmental Master Plan. Our efforts to date have produced a mosaic of sustainable projects and success stories.
Here is a peek into Vaughan’s sustainability storybook:
Working with suppliers that share our environmental ethic
The City’s Recreation and Culture department has a contract with Imperial Services Corporation to provide 80 vending machines at Vaughan community centres. Imperial Services has long been recognized as a leader in environmental initiatives.
Imperial minimizes fuel emissions from delivery vehicles by utilizing electronic inventory control. This means that vehicles are sent to replenish stock only when needed. Vehicles are also equipped with GPS systems to maximize rout efficiency.
Rethinking paper use
Recreation and Culture has also taken a number of measures to reduce natural resource use. The Events team has switched to digital surveying and reduced their annual printing by 5,000 copies.
The push to an improved online and social media presence has resulted in 30 per cent less printed community centre schedules and promotional materials — that’s 60,000 printed copies saved! All of the Vaughan Celebrates promotional materials were also redesigned. Brochures are now an improved single-page foldout resulting in a reduction of 632,000 printed sheets of paper annually — originally an eight-page brochure.
Conserving water and planting the seed for environmental success
The Roads, Parks and Forestry Operations department oversees the maintenance of the City’s horticultural displays and flower beds. Staff are responsible for planting and maintaining about 750 hanging baskets and 550 flower planters in Vaughan. To conserve water — one of our most precious natural resources — City crews have been working to convert all of our hanging baskets to reservoir baskets, which are designed to hold water at the base of the basket, allowing the plants to draw water from the reservoir when needed. Reservoir baskets require less frequent watering, fertilization and maintenance.
Following the Xeriscape principles of design, Parks, Roads and Forestry Operations is also working to plant more hardy, drought-tolerant perennials and shrubs. These plants require less water and are more resistant to pests and diseases and help to keep weeds at bay, reducing the need to use pesticides, fungicides and chemical weed killers that can harm local wildlife, habitats and human health.
These are just a few of the successful projects the City has taken under the guidance of Green Directions Vaughan.
We’re continually looking to challenge ourselves, our businesses, community groups and citizens to help fill the City’s sustainability storybook with new environmental endeavours, projects and targets.
By putting sustainability first — making decisions and taking actions that ensure a healthy environment, vibrant community and economic vitality — together we can build a world-class city now and for the future.
HAVE YOUR SAY: as a citizen or business owner living or working in the City of Vaughan, what environmental initiatives — big or small — have you participated in that add to our City’s sustainability storybook? Share in the comments section below.
Chris Wolnik, manager
Environmental Sustainability Office
Visit the City of Vaughan’s website at www.vaughan.ca.