To counter extreme weather T.O. needs extreme action
Nobody in Toronto is immune to these impacts; everyone needs to help
Last month was wet and wild in the Greater Toronto Area. We had floods caused by torrential rain that wreaked havoc on our doddering old infrastructure. And although a chorus of fingerpointing pontificators directed substantial scorn at Mayor John Tory, the problem is much bigger and set to get much worse.
We have gotten so good at burying our heads in the sand and passing blame down the line regarding climate change, one has to wonder just how bad it has to get for the city, and the country and beyond, to wake up to the mess we have created and understand that the implications of our ignorance likely will end us. Period.
As I write this, wildfires are raging like never before. And they will continue year after year after year. City beaches have been closed, often with E. coli counts that are off the charts.
As Torontonians we need to come together with an understanding that how we go about our daily business needs to be adjusted to the new reality.
Sure, we could dole out some more cash to prop up our aging infrastructure. We should also build as many bike lanes as humanly possible. We should toll every highway leading into Toronto and build so much transit that it makes Seth Rogen’s head spin.
Luckily, the city does have some innovative, world class programs already. City of Toronto boasts a Green Building Standard that is required of every development and includes a checklist of sustainability measures such as energy efficiency, green roofs, bike parking and much more.
This program, which is the envy of cities across the country, is becoming even more progressive and will extend to the creation of truly sustainable buildings and entire neighbourhoods. We need it.
We can’t be conservative now. We cannot do too much.
As we now know, extreme weather isn’t something that only impacts coastal communities or northern regions.
Toronto has had scorching heat, torrential rain, floods, you name it. Although Mayor Tory was hoping the rain would simply go away, like a children’s rhyme, that isn’t enough.
What we need is for all levels of government, like Toronto, to drive change. Instead, we get the opposite. At the top, our prime minister has used billions of tax dollars to purchase an oil pipeline in an effort to expand the Alberta tar sands. Our new premier is setting about axing every green project going.
That seems to show vision that only extends to the next election. Beyond that is someone else’s problem.
Of course, we know whose problem it is. Ours.
Toronto flooding will end up costing the city millions