By employing global best practices and made-in-Toronto solutions, the city’s new waterfront communities will protect and enhance our natural environment, and will ultimately establish themselves as global models for sustainability.
Waterfront Toronto’s sustainable development approach is guided by a comprehensive Sustainability Framework, which serves as a roadmap to make certain that consistent principles are woven into every facet of operations and decision making.
The organization’s commitment to sustainability includes everything from the ground up.The revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront is one of the largest urban brownfield remediation projects anywhere in the world. Rather than “digging and dumping” contaminated soils, the traditional approach to brownfield remediation, Waterfront Toronto is planning wherever possible to clean and process soil for reuse on the waterfront. By limiting the amount of contaminated soils trucked to dump sites, vehicle emissions can be reduced and the environmental impacts caused by land filling can be mitigated.
We recently established a pilot soil recycling facility to determine the feasibility of soil recycling across the waterfront.
Waterfront Toronto has also established a comprehensive series of Minimum Green Building Requirements to ensure that all new buildings along the waterfront are efficient in their use of resources and take advantage of new approaches and technologies to deliver a positive impact on the surrounding air, land and water. These requirements include that all buildings must be at minimum LEED Gold certified and have green roofs. LEED, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized standard for measuring building sustainability.
Beyond requiring energy efficient buildings, all new waterfront neighbourhoods are being designed and built to promote green and healthy living and the conservation of the environment and natural resources.
The neighbourhoods currently under development, East Bayfront, West Don Lands and North Keating in the Lower Don Lands, are among the first in the world to achieve Stage 1 Gold certification under the LEED ND (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighbourhood Development) pilot program established by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Neighbourhoods will feature abundant transportation options that allow residents and visitors to minimize their carbon footprints. Waterfront Toronto is employing a transit-first approach to development, meaning that from the time residents move into their new communities, they will be served by transit that is within five minutes of their front doors. Waterfront communities will also be among the most pedestrian and cyclist friendly in the city, with 85 percent of homes located within 500 metres of a lakefront trail system.
It is only fitting that on the waterfront our most precious resource - water - will be carefully managed. Waterfront Toronto is employing grey water recycling practices on several project sites to conserve clean, drinkable water and reduce the energy needed to produce and transport the water required by residents. In the West Don Lands, 50 percent of stormwater will be recycled for irrigation, and 100 percent of rainwater will be captured in Don River Park and Sherbourne Common for irrigation and other non-potable uses.
Ultimately, waterfront revitalization will deliver an enduring legacy by not only protecting our natural environment, but by enhancing it. From re-naturalizing the mouth of the Don River, creating new urban wilderness and wildlife habitats to planting more than 34,000 trees, Toronto’s lakefront will be greener than ever.