A new initiative will develop an asset management plan for Grindstone Creek, which is part of Ontario’s Greenbelt.

“Given the strain COVID-19 is putting on Ontario’s economy and workers, it is more important now than ever to find cost-effective solutions to the impacts climate change is having on our communities,” said Edward McDonnell, chief executive officer of the Greenbelt Foundation. “When managed properly, natural assets like Grindstone Creek can play a critical role in protecting residents and their property from flooding, saving municipalities money and providing much-needed jobs in planning, design, and construction for local workers.”

In the spring of 2018, the Greenbelt Foundation started working with Municipal Natural Assets Initiatives (MNAI) on a three-year project that aimed to mainstream natural asset management at the municipal level across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

A key part of this project is the asset management plan for Grindstone Creek. The project partners include: City of Hamilton, City of Burlington, Conservation Halton, and Royal Botanical Gardens.

“Investing in ecosystem restoration is ultimately an investment in public health and wellbeing,” said Hassaan Basit, chief administrative officer of Conservation Halton. “It is anticipated that the MNAI project for Grindstone Creek will support this statement and provide additional rationale for the funding and implementation of more ecosystem restoration projects, which are carried out by conservation authorities at the watershed scale in partnership with our municipalities at the local scale.”

While traditional or “grey” infrastructure (i.e. a sewer system) is important, Grindstone Creek demonstrates how natural assets can be incorporated into municipal budgets, alongside grey infrastructure, to save money and improve climate resilience.

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“There is growing evidence that healthy natural assets provide local governments with core infrastructure services such as stormwater management—sometimes at lower capital, operating, maintenance, and renewal costs—than engineered alternatives, and often with numerous other benefits,” said Roy Brooke, executive director of MNAI. “Understanding, valuing, and better-managing nature’s role in providing infrastructure services could play an important part in helping local governments recover from the pandemic.”

Header Image Credit: Greenbelt Foundation.

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