This paper has been written to contribute to the discussion concerning local governments and their efforts to build more sustainable communities. The specific goal is to provide some analysis and practical guidance regarding how local governments may use the legal tools available to advance green initiatives.
The focus is Bill 27, 2008, the “Green Communities” legislation that amended the Local Government Act and Community Charter in May 2008. The paper looks at how decision-makers may use the powers extended by recent legislative amendments, together with existing powers, to strengthen sustainability efforts. A subsidiary goal is to alert decision-makers to the new requirements instituted by the amendments.
The paper is organized by Green Action topic and highlights New Requirements and New Opportunities under each topic. The Green Action topics are:
A. Global Warming Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and Energy Reduction;
B. Climate Change Adaptation;
C. Water Sustainability; and
D. Sustainable Land Use.
For each New Requirement or Opportunity, the paper also provides Strategies for overcoming challenges and making the best use of the powers for achieving each of the Green Action objectives.
Note that because the paper has been organized by topic, instead of legislative power, many of the powers created under Bill 27 are discussed in more than one section with a focus specific to the Green Action then under discussion (GHG or energy reduction, adaptation, water or land use). While this results in some repetition of the discussion of legislative powers, organizing the paper by Green Action topic rather than by legal power has facilitated a more intuitive (and in-depth) discussion of each of the Green Actions as well as a canvassing of the suite of powers and strategies available to advance each of the Actions. The paper also strives to identify the many cross-cutting opportunities and the important relationships among the Actions.