Dr. Lynda Lukasik, has dedicated her life’s work to making Hamilton a better place to live. There is a climate crisis and we all have a part to play in moving us towards a post carbon world. Although the City of Hamilton has declared a climate emergency and has issued a statement in support of the need for change, the pandemic has slowed this impetus. She urges us not to lose sight of the bigger picture.
First, keeping green, going green. As for keeping green, she drew our attention to the City plan to expand urban growth; this time in Elfrida, a prime agricultural area in the east end. Such expansion requires roads and sewers and drives up carbon gas emission while reducing land for food production and food security. Elfrida is not protected by the Greenbelt designation. So, while Conservation officials and Environment Hamilton representatives work to keep farmland and reclaim wetlands in Upper Stoney Creek (which will in turn help reduce flooding in Lower Stoney Creek) there is a powerful opposing pull by the province and municipalities to plan for expected population growth by using the traditional ways of increasing housing by increasing urban areas.
Dr. Lukasik asked us to take a different path and stop urban expansion. In its place we should look to ways to achieve Net 0 carbon emissions. These include improved public transit, LRT, and different housing options. One exciting possibility is the reconsideration by the City of Hamilton of its “Missing Middle”. In addition to single family and high density towers, the middle way includes low rise apartments, townhouses, stacked houses and second dwellings on existing lots. This review of the City plan is currently underway and worth our consideration. Reshaping urban growth will directly impact climate change was the message she stressed. If you are interested look  at  Environment Hamilton’s website. Membership is free.