Toronto—Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) unveiled a new green project in October, involving 12,000 hectares of industrial and commercial land surrounding the airport.
The program—called Partners in Project Green—is the result of a 10-year partnership between the airport authority, municipalities, and TRCA. Once complete, it will transform the area into North America’s largest eco-business zone.
“Partners in Project Green is really the first large-scale effort at addressing climate change in a renewal setting,” explained Toby Lennox, vice-president of corporate affairs and communications at GTAA.
“It’s also significant because it takes an integrated approach. It doesn’t just focus on energy and waste management issues—as important as they are—it also looks at green space improvements, employee health and productivity, and ultimately green jobs.”
The area included in the project supports about 12,500 businesses, employing a total of 355,000 people, making it Canada’s largest area for employment, according to TRCA.
On a yearly basis, the area consumes about 5.8 million Megawatt hours of electricity, and 46 million Gigajoules of natural gas, resulting in 1.7 million tones of greenhouse gas emissions.
It falls under four municipal jurisdictions, including Toronto, Region of Peel, Brampton and Mississauga, which were all involved in the strategic planning. To date, more than 200 businesses have participated in the project.
The approach will foster business-to-business networks, allowing companies to cooperate on their green efforts. The synergies should reduce the upfront cost of innovation, slash payback times, and improve building efficiency, according to TRCA.
“The business community can do more by working together than apart. This is an historic first step to making Toronto the greenest place to do business,” said Brian Denney, chief administrative officer for TRCA.
The zone will include new development opportunities, long-term renovation plans, retrofitting and redevelopment. It also covers strategies such as sustainable transportation and green purchasing.
The full 109-page document can be viewed online: www.partnersinprojectgreen.com.