Mayor John Tory is back in the city after attending a climate change conference in Paris and it would seem as though the trip has inspired him to take action back home.
He told a press conference in Liberty Village Monday morning that Toronto, which was once among the ”front ranks” of cities when it came to environmental issues has fallen behind somewhat in the past four years and while he refused to lay the blame for this at any one door, he says ”it is now time to get back to work”.
According to the Mayor everyone can play their part in reducing damage to the environment, conserving energy and saving money and to this end, Tory laid out some long term and short term goals.
Among the short terms goals is the speeding up of work to convert lighting in the city to energy efficient LED lights, something he says he discussed with mayors from other cities such as L.A and Sydney.
Ways of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill will also be looked at with Mayor Tory suggesting that the city may look at phasing out extra large garbage bins in future years.
The city’s budget for tree planting will once again be increased next year and a plan for planting more trees on privately owned land will also be brought forward.
The Mayor also said that he will be looking for an early opportunity to showcase the construction of an entirely carbon neutral building in the city, while plans to retrofit aging buildings in the city which the Mayor says are ”leaking energy like a sieve” will also be stepped up.
Finally Tory unveiled his plans for a ”Smart Commute” congestion plan which will be launched in the new year.
The aim is to encourage people to commute smarter by getting them out of their cars and onto transit resulting in a reduction in congestion, a reduction in commuting times and a lowering of emissions.
Currently, more than 300 employers in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area have already joined the Smart Commute program, which provides support to businesses to make sustainable commuting a viable option for their staff.