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Whitby Sustainable Development
Guiding Expectations

June 6, 2018
Rob Jowett

Whitby is raising the standard for sustainability in new developments. 

At its June 4 meeting, Whitby council approved the terms of reference for sustainable development guidelines. They are intended to assist developers in implementing the town’s recently incorporated official plan policies concerning sustainability and climate change. 

“The overall goal is that the guidelines will raise the bar for sustainable development right across the entire town,” says senior sustainability planner Meaghan Craven. “With the increased growth the town is seeing, the guidelines will help us to ensure that we’re addressing all aspects of sustainability in our new communities.” 

She says the guidelines will apply to applications for site plans and plans of subdivision on private lands. 

“We’re hoping to address design elements such as energy efficiency, water conservation, building materials, waste reduction, active transportation, other things like natural heritage preservation and cultural heritage, as well as measures for climate change adaptation and more.” 

Mitchell says the guidelines will help the “leading edge” in the development community, those who already want to pursue more sustainable building. 

“We have some very progressive developers focussed on sustainability but you have to bring everyone up to their level,” he says. “The market at present… tends to push down to a less sustainable development model.” 

He says when buyers are confronted with more sustainable buildings, which are usually more expensive initially but save on operating costs; people still usually choose the cheaper option. 

“So you have to get that bar raised so the [sustainability aspect] is in all the developments instead of a few people who try it and then they get pushback from market and they have to reduce their own operations.” 

Mayor Don Mitchell told NRU that the guidelines will bring together all of the sustainability guidelines the town has been developing for years. 

“We have been trying to advance sustainability through a number of plans,” he says. “This overarching document that we hope to produce is hoped to be a way to take all the aspirations that are set out in these other documents and get a better toolkit so we can ensure that they actually get accomplished and the outcomes actually get delivered.” 

At that same meeting council approved draft urban design and sustainability guidelines for Brooklin, which are going out for public comment until June 30. The town vision is for Brooklin to become a sustainable urban centre. 

The guidelines are anticipated to be consider by council in September 2019.