The Markham Sustainability Blog

From Markham's Sustainability Office

Greenprint Approved

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On June 14, 2011 Markham Council approved the Greenprint, Markham’s Sustainability Plan.

The plan positions Markham as a leader in community sustainability. It will support and guide future decisions to ensure that Markham remains a great place to live, work and play for generations to come.

The final plan will be available within the next couple of weeks. Both a PDF and an accessible PDF version of the plan will be prepared for download from this website. Hard copies will be available to borrow from all Markham Public Library branches.

In the short term, the plan is available to view under Item 6 (a) in the Council Minutes of June 14, 2011.

If you would like to receive information about upcoming events, please contact us or check out our social media sites.


Written by gseaman2013

June 24, 2011 at 9:57 am

Update: Greenprint approved by General Committee

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The Greenprint, Markham’s Sustainability Plan, was approved by General Committee today.  The conversation focused on how to ensure that the Greenprint is successfully implemented, including:

  • regular reporting back to General Committee every quarter;
  • ongoing seeking of funds (such as grants from the Canadian Federation of Municipalities);
  • coordination with Council, staff and the community for implementation;
  • a communications strategy including both traditional and innovative methods;
  • integration of a “sustainability lens” into Town processes and procedures (such as reports, budget applications, key performance indicators);
  • engaging Markham youth through schools; and
  • sharing the innovations of the Greenprint with other municipalities throughout Ontario

The Greenprint report will be forwarded to the next Council meeting now that it has passed through committee.  The meeting will be held tomorrow, June 14th, starting a 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers at Markham Civic Centre.  The Greenprint will be an addendum item, meaning an item attached to the agenda after the main agenda has been circulated.  It may not be available as part of the online agenda until closer to the meeting start time. 

Community members and stakeholders are welcome to participate in this meeting through coming in person, giving a deputation, listening live over the internet, or sending comments to the Clerks’ Department for circulation to members of Council.  Instructions for how to participate can be found in this previous post.

Written by gseaman2013

June 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Greenprint goes to General Committee Monday

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The final Greenprint, Markham’s Sustainability Plan will be presented at General Committee for approval on Monday, June 13th at 9am in the Canada Room in the Markham Civic Centre.  There have been significant updates to the Greenprint since June 2010, when a draft for consultation was launched, including a clearer layout, the addition of an implementation chapter, and increased acknowledgement of the activities already underway in Markham.

The General Committee Meeting is a public meeting that you can attend in person or listen live to over the internet (instructions on how to listen can be found in this previous post). 

You are welcome to share your thoughts on the revised Greenprint by giving a deputation (speaking for up to 5 minutes to members of the committee).  Deputation instructions can be downloaded here.  Or if you are unable to attend the meeting in person you can contact the Clerk’s Department about sending an e-mail or letter with your comments that can be circulated to all the members of the committee.

There are two ways to access the updated Greenprint: 

  1. A full colour copy can be downloaded here –  Greenprint, Markham’s Sustainability Plan – June 13, 2011– it is a large document (over 19,000KB) 
  2. Through the General Committee Meeting Agenda available on June 10th, which will include the presentation and attachments

Written by gseaman2013

June 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Markham to be Honoured with Certificate of Bird-Friendliness

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Even though the Greenprint, Markham’s Sustainability Plan isn’t formally adopted yet, there are a lot of great initiatives already underway that support the objectives and recommendations of the plan.  One example of the work already underway that makes Markham a leader in supporting the ecosystem integrity of the community is Markham’s support of bird-friendly buildings.  Tomorrow morning, Markham will be presented a certificate for bird-friendliness from FLAP.  You are welcome to attend the meeting or listen live to the presentation starting at 9 am tomorrow morning.  More information on the meeting can be found in the press release below and instructions on how to attend or listen live can be found at:


Markham Takes Bold Steps to Protect Migratory Birds

Markham is the first municipality in Canada to successfully address one of the leading causes of bird mortality – collisions with buildings.  

At 8100 Warden Avenue, a Town building, an opaque window film was applied to the glass solarium and mirrored walls where birds were striking during the day. Based on patrols of the building grounds, the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) estimates that over 100 birds a year would collide with the structure before the film was applied two years ago. The window application has put a stop to the collisions.

Markham Council recently approved $50,000 in its 2011 Budget to apply window treatments to the Markham Civic Centre at 101 Town Centre Blvd., and, if possible, the Angus Glen Community Centre. Recent improvements in window film design permit greater flexibility in the placement of the film thereby making it more cost-effective.

A noted ornithologist who has studied the issue of bird collisions with windows for over three decades estimates an average of 1 – 10 fatal bird strikes for every structure with windows. Millions of birds die annually across North America as a result of collisions with windows.
FLAP continues to support Markham Ward 1 Councillor Valerie Burke, Chair of the Environmental and Sustainability Committee, in her pioneering efforts to develop the Greenprint Sustainability Plan. The Greenprint, which will incorporate bird-friendly development guidelines, will have major environmental implications. Although not mandatory, it will provide an opportunity to engage the corporate community in wildlife protection. 

Thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of Mayor Frank Scarpitti and members of Markham Council – in close collaboration with FLAP – Markham has become a role model for its own business community and for cities across Canada. Markham has provided a showcase for techniques that building owners and managers can use to ensure that their buildings are safe for birds. 

On Tuesday, May 3, FLAP Executive Director Michael Mesure will honour Markham with a Certificate of Bird-Friendliness which recognizes the Town for its outstanding contribution to urban wildlife sustainability.  The presentation will be made at the Markham Development Services Committee meeting.

For more information:
Michael Mesure, FLAP Executive Director   416-366-3527  cell: 905-649-9223

Written by gseaman2013

May 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

Get Out and Vote Monday

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On Monday, May 2nd Canadians will have the chance to vote in the federal election.  While federal politics may seem remote, the outcome of the election will have an impact on Markham.  The federal government provides funding to a range of programs and projects in local communities and can develop policy which could influence the quality of life in Markham. 

Municipalities get a significant amount of funding from the federal government, including investments into local roads, water systems, public transit and affordable housing.  All of these areas are important for the success of the Greenprint, Markham’s Sustainability Plan, but a number of the funding programs could expire in the next couple of years ( if they haven’t already like the Public Transit Capital Trust). These funding programs affect what our communities looks like, how they function and what services are available.  As pointed out by the Canadian Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), all parties have promised to build stronger relationships with local governments, but different parties have different emphases in their platforms.  To summarize, FCM believes that the Conservatives have a focus on infrastructure funding, the Liberals on affordable housing, the NDP on public transit and the Green Party on urban renewal and the green economy.  If you are interested in reading more about what local governments are looking for from the next government of Canada and what the parties have promised, check out FCM’s latest news.

In addition to the federal government’s current policy and funding areas, there is the potential that the next government of Canada can move into other areas that can benefit our community.  One example of this could be a national transit strategy.  According to the Canadian Urban Transit Association Canada is the only country in the G8 without a national plan that provides long-term predictable funding and aims to reduce car rider ship, and improve economic competitiveness, quality of life and air quality.  Another example is a national food policy that could address the entire food system, including production, processing, retail, emergency food access, and food waste.  The People’s Food Policy Project has undergone extensive public consultations to deliver the first-ever citizen-led national food policy that lays the groundwork for a Canada free of hunger, with decent livelihoods for food producers and sustainable environment for the future.  This document provides an example of what a national food policy for Canada could look like.  There are a lot of other areas where the federal government can take on a new or improved community building role that can improve the environmental, social, cultural and economic well-being of our communities and that will help implement the recommendations in the Greenprint, Markham’s Sustainability Plan.

Young people may not be interested in what programs or tax breaks a politician might give them in exchange for their vote. Instead, they’re interested in a leader’s vision for Canada. Young people have been working together at to ask for “political cooperation to build a stronger democracy that protects our environment, creates economic opportunity while increasing equality and guarantees that everyone receives the care they need”. 

Before you vote, think about the community that you’d like to see in Markham and read what the parties are promising.

Conservative Party of Canada
Green Party of Canada
Liberal Party of Canada
New Democratic Party of Canada

For more information on your local riding and candidates, visit Elections Canada Voter Information Service.

Working Session Summary and Next Meeting

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On March 7, the Sustainability Office presented the Greenprint recommendations to the Mayor and Members of Council during a working session following the General Committee Meeting.  The session ran from 1-4pm and covered all of the recommendations under the 12 Sustainability Priorities.  The presentation can be downloaded here: Presentation March 7 2011 and the recommendation matrix can be downloaded here: Recommendations March 7 2011

Staff were asked to clearly reflect what recommendations build on what Markham is already doing and what recommendations are new for Markham.   In addition, Council asked that the recommendations be in plain language or that definitions are provided.  Other points that were discussed during the working session are listed in summary, available by clicking here: Meeting Summary March 7 2011.  The Sustainability Office responded to the comments, questions and suggestions during the meeting and revisions are being made to the recommendations to ensure Council’s points are reflected.

The final 25 recommendations and the revisions will be presented during the General Committee meeting on Monday, March 21st.  The final 25 recommendations cover: tasks assigned to staff; embedding sustainability in how Markham makes decisions, and; financial tools that are available to implement the Greenprint.

The agenda for the meeting will be available by Friday, which will include the location of the meeting and approximate time of the presentation.  To find the agenda visit: or to listen to the meeting live over the internet, visit:

Written by gseaman2013

March 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm

February 22 Workshop Summary & Upcoming Working Session

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The Sustainability Office delivered the first workshop on the Greenprint recommendations on February 22 during the Development Services Committee Meeting.  The recommendations that were presented had been revised and more clearly organized based on over six months of consultation. 

The objective of the workshop was to start going through the over 250 recommendations with the Mayor and Members of Council and collect feedback.  There was a substantial discussion on the first priority, Individual Health which took up the entire allotted time at the meeting.  As a result staff were requested to schedule a working session with Council in order to go through the recommendations. In addition, staff were asked to review the language of the recommendations to ensure they clearly demonstrated the work that is already underway, either by staff or the community. As a result, staff in the Sustainability Office have revised the wording of the recommendations to reflect this direction and to be more inclusive. This is a dynamic process!

The presentation that was delivered can be downloaded from the following link:

And the meeting minutes can be accessed from the following link:

The working session will be held on March 7 directly following the General Committee meeting.  By not being part of the General Committee Agenda, this will give the Mayor and Members of Council more time to go through the recommendations.  The meeting will be open to the public but will not be a Live Audio Webcast.  A summary of the meeting will be available on this blog in the week that follows.

Written by gseaman2013

March 3, 2011 at 11:24 am