In particular, we want to acknowledge their unique Sustainable Community Investment Fund - a mechanism of financial support for eligible and practical community-based initiatives that advance the Town's Community Sustainability Strategy: Imagine Halton Hills.
Established in 1974 through the amalgamation of numerous smaller townships, the Town of Halton Hills is located in the northwestern end of the Greater Toronto Area and is home to almost 60,000 residents. The area is also home to numerous protected natural areas, including the Niagara Escarpment and the Bruce Trail.
The Town has a long-standing tradition of environmental protection and enhancement. This commitment has been demonstrated through a long list of environmental initiatives related to energy conservation, water efficiency, green procurement practices, recycling and reuse, LEED developments, policy leadership, public engagement and community partnerships. Moreover, the creation of the Office of Sustainability in 2008 aimed to ensure the seamless integration of these sustainability planning principles into the Town's everyday decision-making processes.
Halton Hills' newly developed Sustainable Community Investment Fund hopes to continue this legacy of environmental excellence by encouraging and assisting local stakeholders in introducing actions that contribute to the Town's Strategy implementation. The strategy takes an integrated approach to all facets of community life, relating to economic prosperity, cultural vibrancy, environmental health and social wellbeing. It establishes a long-term vision and acts as a blueprint to the year 2060 by providing the community with direction, while also setting priorities for future planning and decision-making.
In order for local organizations to receive funding, they are required to fill out application forms, which outline the proposed project information, the area of sustainability that the project supports, and the anticipated benefits/outcomes of the initiative. Forms are submitted to the Office of Sustainability, where funds are then distributed based on availability, quality of applications, and the amount of funding requested. Projects may be funded up to a maximum of $2,000 per project, per applicant, with a maximum of $10,000 funded per intake period. As the deadline for 2015 applications has just passed, we look forward to seeing how some of these projects will manifest in the future!
The efforts shown by the Town of Halton Hills to improve environment health is proof that adaptation and mitigation efforts to not have to be centered around large, densely populated cities. Smaller municipalities have the capacity to act as leaders in sustainability by motivating stakeholder involvement from businesses, policymakers, city planners and local residents.
As written on the Office of Sustainability's website, "The metaphor of a journey towards sustainability implies that the road towards environment leadership and sustainability has no real end."