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CHATTER: PARA AGM all about green initiatives (July 2022)

July 18th, 2022 · No Comments

The newly planted pollinator garden thrives in the sun outside of Harbord Collegiate Institute. The planting of this garden is one of many environmental initiatives the Palmerston Area Residents’ Association is taking this summer. FOX OLIVER/GLEANER NEWS

The Palmerston Area Residents’ Association (PARA) held their annual general meeting on Thursday, May 26, via Zoom. At this year’s meeting, members focused on the environment and sustainable living. Guest speakers discussed the dangers of, and alternatives to, single-use materials and how homeowners can upgrade their homes into more sustainable dwellings and apply for valuable grants. 

Before the guest speakers, a brief update was given on PARA’s ongoing projects. A new pollinator garden has been planted in front of Harbord Collegiate Institute and planting and garden maintenance are scheduled for Healey Willan Park, Palmerston Gates, and Korean grocer PAT Central. A planning group is working on a College Street upgrade plan which includes additional bike lanes and greenspace in the Palmerston area. If you live in the area, expect to receive a survey by the fall asking what you want to see on College Street.

Emily Alfred, a representative from the non-profit organization Toronto Environmental Alliance, brought up the consumption of single-use disposable items as an issue that needs to be addressed at all three levels of government, as well as on an individual basis. Alfred predicted that a federal ban on six single-use plastics (bags, stir sticks, six-pack rings, utensils, straws, and food containers) will likely come by the end of the year.  Municipal regulations on single-use disposable materials have already received heavy community support, as the city has the power to regulate the distribution of these materials through food services. Possible means to regulate these disposable materials include charging a mandatory fee for these items or only being allowed to distribute them if specifically requested by the customer. 

Alfred then provided a list of innovative ways to reduce waste alongside government regulation. Restaurant customers can bring their own reusable containers for takeout, similar to how many already bring reusable thermoses to coffee shops. While some may worry that this is unsanitary in a restaurant, it is completely safe if restaurants follow proper food preparation procedures. Restaurants could also offer reusable containers for delivery which could be returned for a deposit.

Tim Grant, chair of the net zero committee and the Harbord Village Residents’ Association (HVRA), discussed changes that homeowners can make to save money while upgrading their homes; for example, the government of Canada offers $5000 grants for homeowners for rooftop solar electric systems, new windows, air sealing, exterior insulation retrofits, and air source heat pumps. Grant also announced that the HVRA has partnered with Best Buy to offer Torontonians in the area discounts on induction ovens, stoves, and cooktops which are greener alternatives to gas appliances.   

PARA has a very active green committee that has undertaken a long list of projects to improve the neighbourhood and push for broader environmental responsibility. They are creating a pollinator garden at Harbord Collegiate, working on the revitalization of neglected spaces, participating in community consultations and much more.

—Fox Oliver/Gleaner News


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