When the expansion of East Village was discussed in Council on 24 June, it was just about the need for a minor change to the Official Plan and a minor re-zoning change. Despite this, Councillor Emily Chorley wanted advisory committees to be consulted about sustainability and accessibility despite the comment by Director Glenn McGlashon that there are few specifics so this would be premature. As a result, the Sustainability and Climate Change Advisory Committee is holding a special meeting on Wednesday July 17, 2019 at 12:30 pm in the Committee Room, Victoria Hall, to consider a motion requiring very significant sustainability “improvements” to Stalwood’s plans. Since the development is not even at site plan stage, there are no building plans and if Council ends up adopting the requirements, the development may stop in its tracks and not happen.
The proposed motion by the chair of the committee is quite long, 2 ½ pages (see the link below) but here is a summary. [Note that the name of the chair was not given – an earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the chair].
- Preamble that the world is in a state of climate crisis and that buildings are major contributors to CO2 emissions
- It’s more economical to incorporate sustainable features at the sub-division development stage than install through retrofit later; and that energy use reduction should also save the home dweller on operating costs;
- Achieve ‘passive house low-energy designation’ (not passive house certification) for all buildings;
- All buildings be made ‘photovoltaic solar ready’ for solar installation in the future. That is, buildings should be oriented and laid out to optimize installation of solar panels with structural strength to support panels and their electrical systems ready to accept solar.
- Wherever possible build ‘green streets’ – a stormwater management approach that incorporates vegetation.
- Maximize the number of new trees on the site while ensuring no shading of future solar.
- Design the park including the location of trees to enable a community garden … to facilitate greater reliance on local food rather than food requiring energy to produce and transport.
- Recognizing the difficulty of enforcing, the Town should research “how the City of Guelph is able to enforce a zero energy subdivision development”.
- Should there be no means to encourage the applicant to make the suggested improvements, Cobourg Council (should) not approve the application.
- Cobourg Council (should) be prepared for this matter to be taken to the Ontario Municipal Board (sic – now disbanded and replaced with Local Planning Appeal Tribunal), with the Town of Cobourg defending their stance.
- Cobourg Council (should) ask Staff to prepare a by-law to amend the Official Plan to address the need for new developments to be sustainable.
The agenda for the committee meeting includes a response from A&J Energy Consultants on behalf of Stalwood. They say that Stalwood’s planned homes have a 50% better energy performance than is required by the Ontario Building code and that they are in the top 5% of tested homes. They also say that “A Net Zero house may add approximately $90,000 to $100,000 to the cost of a single unit which, given the current state of the building industry, may be an unsustainable model.”
Despite this, since all members of the Sustainability and Climate Change Advisory Committee are committed to sustainability, the motion is likely to be passed by the committee – although perhaps with changes – and will then be presented to Council at either the July 22 meeting or the August 12 meeting.
The Accessibility Advisory committee meets in the Victoria Hall Conference room at 10:00 am on the same day (July 17) and has this development on the agenda but without any motion proposed in advance.
- More growth planned for East End – 27 June 2019
- Motion Re East Village Phase 5
- Agenda for Sustainability and Climate Change Advisory Committee meeting on 17 July 2019 – Like all the Town’s Advisory Committee meetings, this meeting is open to the public.
Update – Committee of the Whole meeting – 22 July 2019
At the Council meeting where the above was considered, a modified version of the motion was presented – Download it from the Town’s Portal here. That is, the Sustainability and Climate Change Advisory Committee modified the motion offered by their chair.
- A paragraph was added about the Federation of Canadian Municipalities requiring a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030.
- The reference to the OMB was removed
- The reference to Guelph was removed
- The request to not approving the development was removed
- The “ask” was that “Staff recommend the tasks not only to the East Village Phase 5 Development but for all Developers in Cobourg.”
The motion passed without debate – perhaps because it was only a recommendation and Staff can decide what to do with it.