Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plans Revitalize Older Communities and Inspire Residents to Take Action Against Climate Change

- - SNAP Program celebrates five years of partnerships in creating resilient, healthy and happy communities--

TORONTO, Sept. 22, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) and its partners celebrate five years of working together on the Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan (SNAP) program to create resilient communities that are beautiful, happy and healthy. The SNAP program began as an innovative model for sustainable urban renewal in older communities and is at the forefront of sustainability practice around the world. SNAP brings together many municipal and community partners to create local plans for environmental improvement that inspire residents, businesses and governments to take action and have big impact. On the fifth anniversary celebration, RBC Foundation announced their support for the program through the RBC Blue Water Project.

"We wish to express our sincere thanks to RBC Blue Water Project, one of our Founding Partners, for their outstanding and continued support of the SNAP project", said Scott Fortnum, Executive Director, The Living City Foundation.  A total of $175,000 has been donated by the RBC Blue Water Project in support of the residential retrofit programs, including Harvest the Rain, Eco-landscaping and Green Home, in three SNAP neighbourhoods. 

"Water remains one of our most precious resources, and water stewardship is essential so that future generations can enjoy this resource," said Rina Pilliteri, Regional Vice-president, RBC. "As part of the RBC Blue Water Project, we are proud to support The Living City's SNAP program and congratulate them on their work to date. We look forward to our communities sharing in your successes for years to come."

SNAP pilot neighbourhoods are located in Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga, Richmond Hill and Markham. The SNAP neighbourhoods are testing grounds to address local sustainability and resilience by tapping into local community interests and needs. Each SNAP neighbourhood features unique initiatives to meet the diverse objectives, ranging from stormwater management, water and energy efficiency, urban forest improvement, local food production, and active transportation.

At this five year program milestone, the SNAP team is beginning to see how new ideas can act as seeds for change, growing momentum from the neighbourhood up.

"We are learning the importance of social and community benefits as part of urban renewal - health, happiness, beauty and connectedness are strong motivators in inspiring action," said Sonya Meek, Manager Watershed Planning, Toronto and Region Conservation. "We are exploring new ways to improve our public space and achieve infrastructure renewal through new partnerships, collaborations and funding mechanisms.  We will continue to implement SNAP pilots in the future, and find ways to support scaling up or replication of certain program components.  We look forward to sharing lessons learned and other resources with partners across the field."

Moving forward, the SNAP team plans to continue with innovative programs in each of the pilot neighbourhoods from Harvest the Rain program to creating a 21st Century sustainable urban village at the Black Creek SNAP.  At the County Court SNAP, plans are underway to demonstrate home retrofit and successful public-private partnerships through the Green Home Program, and municipal partnership through a Bio-filter Swale Project. The Burnhamthorpe SNAP will continue to showcase the Depave Paradise project which demonstrates climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Lake Wilcox SNAP's tailored Eco-Landscaping Program connects residents and industry; and lastly at the Bayview Glen SNAP, public realm renewal will meet diverse sustainability and social objectives, while promoting complementary action on private land. These are only a few of the exciting projects coming from the holistic SNAP plans.

At the fifth year celebration, awards were given to the SNAP Founding Partners including: Peel Region, York Region, City of Toronto, City of Brampton, Town of Richmond Hill, City of Mississauga, City of Markham, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Metcalf Foundation and RBC Foundation.

Event info: http://www.trca.on.ca/news-media/news/releases/194192

About SNAP
The Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan (SNAP) program aims to accelerate the implementation of environmental improvements and urban renewal at the neighbourhood scale. It takes an integrated approach to overcome urban retrofit challenges and address a broad range of objectives with locally tailored solutions. Each SNAP neighbourhood features unique initiatives to inspire residents, businesses and governments to take action. Visit the SNAP website for more information. http://sustainableneighbourhoods.ca

About Toronto and Region Conservation
With 60 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look after the natural environment. TRCA's vision is for the Living City – a cleaner, greener and healthier place to live, for you today and for your children tomorrow. For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at www.trca.on.ca

About The Living City Foundation
The Living City Foundation is a registered charity (Business #11903 9493 RR0001) that supports the work of Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA). TRCA and The Living City Foundation are working to build The Living City: A Cleaner, Greener Healthier Place to live. For more information visit us at www.thelivingcity.org

SOURCE: Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

For further information: Rowena Calpito, Supervisor, Public Relations, Toronto and Region Conservation, Tel: 416-661-6600 Ext. 5632, E-mail: rcalpito@trca.on.ca

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www.trca.on.ca

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