Midhurst/ June 5, 2017 – June 5, 2017 is World Environment Day (WED) and the County of Simcoe is joining communities across the globe to embrace the beauty of our natural environment.
"We welcome more than 9 million visitors each year who travel here to experience the natural beauty of Simcoe County—as residents we're so fortunate to live it each and every day," said Warden Gerry Marshall. "We embrace our active, outdoor lifestyle and are committed to being sound environmental stewards by continuing to acquire new forest properties, plant trees, protect our land and water and invest in initiatives that reduce our footprint on our habitat."
WED is the United Nations' most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, WED has grown to become a global platform for public outreach. Join the global album and promote our beautiful region by sharing a photo or video of your favorite outdoor place in #SimcoeCounty using #WorldEnvironmentDay or #WithNature and tell the world why it's special to you.
From tree planting to planning policies to active trails to waste diversion and sustainable operations, the County is a leader in environmental stewardship. Did you know…
Forestry and Tree Planting:
At approximately 33,000 acres and growing, the Simcoe County Forest is the largest municipally-owned forest in Ontario and among the largest of its kind in Canada. Through our forestry program, and in partnership with local organizations, more than 20 million trees have been planted within the County Forest since inception. This season ranked as the third most productive tree planting season since 1977 with 85,450 trees being planted through our program across the County. A special thanks goes out to partners across the region including the North Simcoe Anglers and Hunters Conservation Club and Forests Ontario for working with us to advance our tree planting initiatives.
County of Simcoe Forestry received Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) re-certification by the Rainforest Alliance in 2015 (FSC C013174), meeting the FSC's strict environmental and social standards. The County first achieved FSC certification in July 2010. Learn more about the FSC certification program at https://ca.fsc.org/index.htm
Land use planning is about finding balance in perspectives and opinions on all sides. Through the County's updated Official Plan (which will guide growth through 2031), we have increased the amount of designated Greenlands in Simcoe County from 36 per cent to 40 per cent. That means that Simcoe County has 190,495 hectares of designated Greenlands which include some of our natural heritage areas such as forests, wetlands, wildlife habitat, and significant valleylands.
The County has developed a detailed Trails Strategy, as well as a Transportation Master Plan, which both contain goals to increase connectivity of Active Transportation routes within the County. Through the Trails Connecting Communities Program, the County has $250,000 in annual funding available to local municipalities to construct and improve active transportation infrastructure. Since 2009, the County has provided more than $1.5 million to local municipalities towards the completion of 61 trail and active transportation projects. Furthermore, our County-owned forests contain more than 450 km of trails used for various recreational pursuits. These trails are developed and maintained by non-profit groups through a high degree of volunteerism.
The County of Simcoe continues to be among the very best in the province when it comes to diverting waste from landfills. The County ranked fifth out of 243 Ontario municipalities with a 60.5 per cent diversion rate for 2015. The County has also seen great success at its waste drop-off facilities, where innovative programs for over 20 different materials, including asphalt shingles and window glass, have diverted more than 70 per cent of waste materials dropped-off from being landfilled. In 2018, the County will be implementing new curbside collections for textiles and electronics during dedicated weeks in the spring and fall, adding to its many innovative programs aimed at increasing diversion.
As part of the County's Sustainable Operations Program, staff evaluate energy use and operations, and engrain new, innovative and efficient systems, products and practices into new buildings and vehicles. Examples of projects include: the Administration Centre's LEED Gold designation and Georgian Village's LEED Silver designation, an award recognizing a building's commitment to energy efficiency, functionality and environmentally-minded building materials; renewable energy systems to harness free power from Mother Earth - solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays and geothermal heating/cooling at the Administration Centre; corporate-wide purchasing of FSC-certified paper, committing to responsibly managed forests; an adopted best practice to install high efficiency and high ROI LED lights into buildings and parking lots; and one of the top-rated environmental vehicle fleets in Canada as rated by Fleet Challenge Ontario in 2014.
Visit www.simcoe.ca/goodstewards to learn more about the County's strong environmental initiatives. Or explore our beautiful landscape by visiting www.maps.simcoe.ca.
County of Simcoe is composed of sixteen member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at simcoe.ca.
Director, Corporate Communications
705-726-9300 ext. 1230
705-726-9300 ext. 1430