To counter ex­treme weather T.O. needs ex­treme ac­tion

No­body in the GTA or 905 is im­mune to these im­pacts; every­one needs to help by Ron Johnson

Thornhill Post - - News -

Last month was wet and wild in the Greater Toronto Area and York Re­gion. We had floods caused by tor­ren­tial rain that wreaked havoc on our dod­der­ing old in­fra­struc­ture. And al­though a cho­rus of fin­ger-point­ing 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 and the 905 have 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

RON JOHNSON

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