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1.5.4

Work in partnership with various stakeholders to develop policies and programs to provide shade (e.g. tree canopy) in our communities.

greenstatusFinal update (September 2014)
Several initiatives have come to light following consultations with local municipalities and school boards to encourage the development of shade policies to protect the public from harmful ultraviolet radiation and to realize the social, environmental and health benefits from trees. 

  • The Waterloo Region District School Board passed a “Sun Safety and Shading” policy in January 2012 that recognizes the strategic provision of shade and the inclusion of shade in facility design.
  • The City of Waterloo Official Plan cites shade a number of times.
  • The City of Cambridge Official Plan also cites shade in a number of locations, considering shade in Urban Design Guidelines and Studies and encouraging shade in the public realm in Parks and Open Space.  The City is in the process of developing an Urban Forest Plan to manage, improve, and increase the benefits and quality of life from healthy trees (including shade). 
  • The City of Kitchener Official Plan includes shade throughout.

Internally at ROW, a scan of shade policies and practices was conducted in the Planning, Housing and Community Services department.  Opportunities to increase shade on regionally owned properties and land under the influence or jurisdiction of the Region were presented and the department has made recommendations for moving forward.

Progress Update (September 2013)

There is clear support for shade in the community. In a 2011, Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS) survey, 67.2% of Waterloo Region respondents indicated that it is “very important” to have shaded areas in school yards, parks and spectator areas of sports fields so people can reduce their sun exposure; 25.1% said it was “somewhat important”. 96% of respondents support planting trees in school yards, parks and spectator areas of sports fields so people can reduce sun exposure. 96.7% of respondents said they supported local government spending a small amount of funds to plant trees/build structures.

In follow-up to consultations and presentations with local municipalities and school boards to encourage the development of shade policies;

  • The Waterloo Region District School Board passed a “Sun Safety and Shading” policy in January 2012 that recognizes the strategic provision of shade and the inclusion of shade in facility design.
  • In June 2011, the Ontario Public School Board Association passed a motion to lobby the provincial government to provide additional funding, over and above what is currently given, for shading initiatives; and that the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Municipal Affairs be encouraged to develop partnerships that would consolidate services to encourage and support shading initiatives for school boards.
  • The City of Waterloo Council Official Plan cites shade a number of times. Draft policy 8.7.3 (2) reads: “To provide protection from sun exposure, mitigate the urban heat island and reduce energy demands, the City will encourage the provision of shade, either natural or constructed. When planning for and developing new City facilities such as parks and public spaces, or refurbishing existing City-owned facilities, the City will consider the provision of shade an essential component.”
  • The City of Cambridge Council Official Plan also cites shade in a number of locations, considering shade in Urban Design Guidelines and Studies and encouraging shade in the public realm in Parks and Open Space. Specifically policy 7.1.12 reads: “Wherever feasible and appropriate the City will seek to provide increased shade in the open space system both on its own lands and elsewhere in collaboration with the School Boards, the Region, the GRCA, community organizations and private landowners.”

Discussions are ongoing with other Area Municipalities to incorporate specific shade policies in their new Official Plans.

At the outset of the shade policy initiative in Waterloo Region, it was recognized that no single agency or department could bring about necessary changes. The ongoing collaboration between Public Health and Planning, Housing and Community Services staff and Evergreen reflects the fact that shade policy is a convergence between several areas of public policy: cancer prevention, urban air quality, and the design of streets and public places. Area Municipalities and school boards have an equal if not even greater stake in implementing shade policies. As we move forward, it is crucial that internal departments as well as Area Municipalities and community organizations are willing to come to the table and work towards a common goal.

The Waterloo Region Shade Working Group, which consists of representatives from Evergreen, Public Health, and Planning, Housing, and Community Services are working to increase shade in the Waterloo Region through various strategies.

One strategy has been to increase awareness, knowledge and skills, and networking opportunities through presentations, annual shade forums, and through listserv communications. The group developed a Shade Audit Information Guide + Tool in September of 2012 and shared it with community stakeholders. Using the tool, shade audits were conducted on 3 different types of properties including: school yards, parks, and community housing sites with the results and recommendations being shared back with the respective organizations.

In June 2013, members of the Shade Working Group met with the Planning, Housing, and Community Services Department (PHCS) to report back the results of the pilot PHCS shade policy and practice scan. Opportunities for shade provision and options for implementation were provided to the Commissioner to bring to his Senior Management Team for consideration.

Efforts have been made by the Shade Working Group with Area Municipal and Regional departments and community organizations to find solution ideas that will ensure shade strategies do not conflict with their interests and both parties are satisfied, e.g. Shade Working Group investigating Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles.
The Shade Working Group continues to provide support and consultations to internal departments as well as external organizations; e.g. provided consultation to the Transportation Environmental Services Department’s Rapid Transit Division on the Shade initiative and aspects of reducing ultraviolet radiation exposure. Feedback was provided to the Rapid Transit Division in May of 2013 on the draft Rapid Transit Stop Design plans.

Next steps for the Shade Working Group include continuing to review internal policies and practices, support school boards, Area Municipalities, and community organizations with developing shade policies and practices.

Progress Update (January 2013)

The Region has been working in partnership with area municipalities, local school boards, and community organizations to develop policies and programs to provide shade (e.g., tree canopy) in our communities.   From the outset of the shade policy initiative, it was recognized that no single agency could bring about all necessary changes to the tree canopy.

The ongoing collaboration reflects the fact that shade policy is a convergence of several objectives in the strategic plan: cancer prevention, urban air quality, and the design of streets and public places.

Progress Indicators

  • Support to two organizations (1 Area Municipality and 1 school board) to develop a policy to conduct shade audits, and review Area Municipal Official Plans for shade
  • Review internal policies and make recommendations 
  • Address shade in Urban Greenland Strategy

 

greenindicator   Strong progress achieved   2011-2014 Strategic Plan (PDF)
yellowindicator   Moderate progress achieved   2011-2014 Strategic Plan (RTF)
redindicator   Progress needed   2011-2014 Strategic Plan (Flash)