AboutREMEDIATION unveils municipal brownfields toolbox for Ont communities
Ontario communities are the first to be offered the opportunity to make use of the Ontario Municipal Brownfields Redevelopment Toolbox, developed as a pilot project by aboutREMEDIATION in partnership with the Canadian Brownfields Network, government agencies, consultants and other private industry firms. This free, on-line resource was announced last week in Toronto at the Environment and Energy Conference (EECO).
Tammy Lomas-Jylh¿, general manager of aboutREMEDIATION, explained, "This resource guide has been prepared to assist municipalities in understanding the process of redevelopment and creating an awareness of the significant role they play in motivating and championing brownfields redevelopment in their communities. Municipalities can use and adapt components of the Toolbox to address their specific needs".
In Ontario, municipalities are starting to re-think community growth and planning by incorporating concepts of re-use and revitalization into their Community Improvement Plans. But since many of these municipalities are in the early stages of brownfield redevelopment, they need assistance, resources and tools to guide them through the process.
"The Brownfields Toolbox was developed to address this need and focuses on the common elements of many recently developed brownfield strategies," noted Dave Harper, brownfields practice leader for Jacques Whitford Environmental, a partner in the project.
Three components make up the Ontario Brownfields Toolbox. First, the 10 Key Elements of a Redevelopment Strategy describes the basic elements municipalities should consider when creating a vision for community improvement and brownfields redevelopment.
The second component, the Brownfields Decision Tree, outlines the steps to redevelopment in a flow chart format, in accordance with the legislative and policy framework within which municipalities must operate.
Finally, the 5 Steps to Redevelopment component serves as the foundation of the Brownfields Toolbox, focusing on Community Readiness, Evaluation, Transaction, Implementation and Site Management. Common challenges and issues are listed and described in each step, along with practical tips and solutions to help municipalities address them.
"The emerging interest in Brownfield redevelopment has created a real need for municipalities and other interested parties to understand these opportunities in order to respond effectively and creatively," said Harry Dahme, senior partner with the law firm Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, adding that "Gowling Lafleur Henderson was a proud participant in drafting the Toolbox. We hope that municipalities and others find it to be a useful resource that increases the redevelopment of underutilized properties and lands."
Plans are underway to expand and customize the Toolbox to meet the needs of other stakeholders and provinces and to accelerate brownfields redevelopment across Canada. Opportunities are available for companies to participate in the Toolbox by showcasing and promoting their products and services, and assisting in the development of expanded versions.
The toolbox was developed with funding support from Industry Canada's FedNor program, Environment Canada (Ontario region), and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Development partners included Gowling Lafleur Henderson, Aon Reed Stenhouse, Jacques Whitford Environmental, the cities of Toronto, Kitchener and Brantford, and the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.