Posts filed under Milestones

Relive "Claiming Green - Fact or Greenwashing"

The second Community-based Leadership in Sustainability workshop took place on Thursday, January 15th at the AGH Design Annex. If you didn't have a chance to join us review the Twitter activity from the evening to get a sense of what went on!

Posted on January 27, 2015 and filed under Milestones, Claiming Green.

Love Your Streets - Boosting Transportation Options

The following was originally posted by Citizens at City Hall on their website and through their e-newsletter on December 2nd. We thank them for their excellent summary and supporting links.

The majority of car trips in Hamilton could be replaced easily by bicycles or even walking but that isn’t likely to occur until the city provides more complete streets argue alternative transportation advocates. And even the city’s limited cycling master plan won’t be in place until 2053 at the current rate of implementation.

Similarly, progress on Hamilton’s eight-year-old transportation master plan so far has been heavily weighted to expanding roads rather than making existing arteries more efficient by such steps as ‘road diets’ and conversion to two-way traffic flows. But four speakers at a well-attended forum last week contend these changes will actually reduce transportation costs for both residents and the city government, and slash Hamilton’s injury risk to pedestrians and cyclists that is currently one of the highest in Ontario.

The city’s manager of transportation demand management, Peter Topalovic, led off last week’s forum with a statistical breakdown that showed 83 percent of Hamilton trips are by motorized vehicle, 9 percent by transit and the remainder walking or cycling – with a full half of those trips being 5 km or less. But the startling statistic was that “55 percent of all trips of one kilometre or less were taken by automobile” – something that can be accomplished by walking in about 15 minutes.

Topalovic suggested this indicates “great potential out there to shift people to other modes” with multiple benefits to health, reduced pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions and less financial burden on city taxpayers.

“Obviously if we have to accommodate that amount of automobiles, those take up more space,” he pointed out. So we have an infrastructure problem because we have to accommodate for the growth in the automobile or try to find other ways to do things more actively and efficiently.”

City staff have been warning council for several years that Hamilton is behind approximately $2 billion in maintenance of existing infrastructure, and is falling further behind by nearly $200 million each year. A third of the city’s $13.8 billion in assets is composed of roads and associated traffic facilities.

Last year the city spent nearly $90 million on its road budget – an average of slightly over $13,000 per lane kilometre of pavement. While the annual total varies depending on how much reconstruction or new construction takes place, the operational costs per lane kilometre are roughly $4000 per year.

Sara Mayo of the Social Planning and Research Council provided the forum with analysis on the city’s progress on cycling facilities. The 2009 cycling master plan promised a nearly four-fold expansion by 2029, but is already far behind that goal.

“At the current rate of implementation of 22 km per year, Hamilton cycling master plan won’t be complete until 2053,” calculates Mayo. “Although 30 percent of the 20 years of the plan timeline has gone by, only about 9 percent of the proposed facilities have been installed.”

That shortfall is not helping Hamilton’s unenviable status as one of the most dangerous places for both cyclists and pedestrians in Ontario with 42 percent higher injury risk for pedestrians and 81 percent higher risk for cyclists. Mayo notes that the city acknowledges most of its streets have been designed for higher than the posted 50 km per hour speed limit and risk of injury “increases exponentially with speed”.

Mayo also argued that increased emphasis on transit, cycling and walking will improve fairness and equity. The SPRC analysis of census data for Hamilton shows these transport methods are used to get to work by well over a quarter of residents with incomes less than $20,000, but by less than 5 percent of  those making more than $80,000.  

The forum – sponsored by the Sustainability Professionals Network – was also told that converting traffic lanes to cycling lanes and pedestrian buffers not only reduces injuries but also usually results in vehicles getting to their destinations more quickly because their route is less disrupted. One of the other speakers, Justin Jones, contended the real objective should be to move people, not cars, and utilizing excess road capacity for alternative transportation also reduces maintenance costs.

Posted on December 3, 2014 and filed under Milestones, Love Your Streets.

Relive Love Your Streets

Love Your Streets, the first Community-based Leadership in Sustainability event, took place this past Wednesday evening at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Didn't have a chance to join us, or want to remember some of the great things that were discussed? Relive an amazing event with nearly 200 people in attendance by scrolling through the Tweets posted throughout the evening.

Posted on November 28, 2014 and filed under Milestones, Love Your Streets.

Relive SPN at HiveX 2014 plus Feedback Opportunities

Didn't get a chance to attend SPN's "The Business of Local" session at HiveX 2014? We've got you covered with the Twitter rundown of the session! Start from the top at the beginning of the session and work your way down.

For those who attended HiveX, the organizers would appreciate your feedback. Please complete the survey located at

Posted on October 18, 2014 and filed under Milestones, Business of Local.

HiveX - SPN Presents "The Business of Local"

WHEN: Saturday, October 18, 2014
Details and Registration Links Below

Hamilton Hive’s “Hive X” is a conference for young professionals, leaders, and entrepreneurs in the Greater Hamilton Area. 

This annual conference is fast becoming a landmark event in the Golden Horseshoe region, as it attracts both attendees looking to advance themselves and the  Hamilton community, as well as those who look for ways to attract, retain, engage, and develop young leaders.


Join the SPN at HiveX 2014, where we will be hosting a workshop on The Business of Local, where participants will engage in facilitated discussion, with the goal to generate ideas about the importance of investing in the community. The workshop will include a wide variety of speakers and thought leaders from our community. Expect to engage in thought provoking sessions with the opportunity to generate and contribute innovative, Hamilton-specific ideas focused on rethinking “people, planet and profit” that will be incorporated into a white paper that will highlight the outcomes of the session. 
HiveX 2014 Website:
Registration (early bird prices until Sept 22):

Posted on August 27, 2014 and filed under Events, Milestones.

SPN Milestone - The Kickoff Event, May 2013

"SPN Milestones" will highlight achievements and past events involving or presented by the Sustainability Professionals Network.

"The Kickoff Event"
Timeline: May 2013

Hamilton's Sustainability Professionals Network launched onto the scene on May 15, 2013 with an evening of networking and inspiring presentations at the Pheasant Plucker pub on Augusta Street. Despite being brand new, the kickoff event demonstrated the power and potential of a sustainability network, as we drew over 100 people on a Wednesday evening and more than filled the room at Pheasant Plucker.

The night consisted primarily of a series of IGNITE presentations from a wide variety of speakers talking about their sustainability successes in Hamilton. Speaking to the crowd that night were Ron McLester and Alan Griffiths from Mohawk College, Chris McLaughlin from the Bay Area Restoration Council, Brian Lennie from Horizon Utilities, Abram Bergen from THAAT Co-op, Joel Hilchey from McMaster University, and Sandi Stride from SPN's sponsor organization, Sustainable Hamilton.

Attendees were also encouraged to contribute their thoughts on what the SPN should look like in the future, how the organization should run, what issues were of greatest importance to sustainability in Hamilton, and more. The contributions were compiled by SPN volunteers and presented at a subsequent meeting, and helped form the mission and vision of Hamilton SPN.

The kickoff event was a huge success and proved that there is demand in Hamilton for a network of professionals with an interest in and focus on sustainability.

Posted on August 21, 2014 and filed under Milestones.

SPN Milestone - Green Jobs: Bridging the Gap

"SPN Milestones" will highlight achievements and past events involving or presented by the Sustainability Professionals Network.

"Green Jobs: Bridging the Gap"
Timeline: April 2014

In the winter of 2014, a group of McMaster sustainability student interns worked together on a project that would help to bridge the gap between sustainability-minded students and employers within the City of Hamilton.

Graduate student, Simon Webb, focused on identifying types of sustainability-related employment opportunities available to graduating students and the types of skills required. Simon conducted a survey of sustainability professionals, which included members of Hamilton SPN, to obtain information to support his project. From the survey responses received, Simon identified some common themes that are important takeaways for students looking for sustainability-related employment. These takeaway items include: the importance of networking; having interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding; as well as, possessing and displaying a passion for sustainability.

Simon’s survey of sustainability professionals ran in tandem with a second survey that was facilitated by undergraduate sustainability student intern, Connie Cheung. Connie’s survey focused on gaining an understanding of student perceptions of sustainability-related careers and opinions on important qualifications for employment in the field. After the survey was disseminated, two follow-up focus group sessions were held to delve deeper into the quantitative responses.

The survey received a total of 212 responses from McMaster students within different faculties and levels of study. Almost 65% of students indicated that it was important for them to find a job with an employer who values sustainability. Students also ranked experiential learning opportunities, including: co-op; internship; and service learning, as some of the most useful methods in preparing for employment when compared to: curriculum adjustments; assistance in career identification; and volunteer activities. These results were echoed in the follow-up focus groups, where undergraduate and graduate students from Engineering, Life Sciences, and Geography & Environmental Sciences programs emphasized the need for more experiential learning opportunities in order to develop critical thinking and interdisciplinary collaboration skills, which would assist them in their pursuit of sustainability-related careers.

Simon, Connie, and additional members of their project team chose to host an information session and networking event to share this information with sustainability-minded students and employers. The team utilized survey findings to compare and contrast the perspective of employers and students. These findings were used to foster discussion between sustainability professionals and students during the networking event to follow.

The Green Jobs Networking Event was held on April 4th, 2014. The event was attended by 58 McMaster students and 11 sustainability professionals, including members from Hamilton SPN. A follow-up satisfaction survey showed that 95% of students felt the event had fully satisfied their initial reason for attending, and 100% indicated that they were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the event overall.

More information can be found on McMaster’s Academic Sustainability Programs Office website at

Posted on July 15, 2014 and filed under Milestones.