News: $500,000+ for your "Green" Neighbourhood

"Imagine a modern vibrant neighbourhood that's energy efficient, economically viable, and environmentally sustainable."

Last weekend I attended a conference themed "Partnering for Success" that discussed how sustainable communities like this could be realistically achieved.  It was hosted by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' (FCM) 2009 Annual Conference and Municipal Expo in beautiful Whistler, BC.

Community leaders from all over the country assembled to discuss and learn about issues and opportunities to strengthen and better serve their communities.

I was able to attend a few of the solution oriented conference sessions and I'm happy to be able to share with you a program that I think every developer in Canada should look into.  The session was hosted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the program is called "Equalibrium Communities". From the brief 30 minute presentation I was impressed by the idea as it offers the chance for progressive developers to be recognized and rewarded for building more sustainable communities.  I have the feeling it is a program that the federal and provincial governments may soon wish to consider expanding substantially, as it promotes the exactly the kind of developments we need more of. 

Here is a quote from the conference program
"CMHC and Natural Resources Canada's Canmet ENERGY are collaborating to accelerate the development of sustainable
communities that are energy efficient, economically viable, and vibrant places to live.  Our objective is to increase implementation and performance through application at the neighbourhood scale.  Such neighbourhoods through their planning, design, implementation and operation, would provide measureable improvements over traditional approaches in the areas of energy use reduction, water efficiency,environmental protection, land use planning, sustainable transportation, affordable housing and other features.  Visit our session to learn more about these sustainable communities and indicators that are applicable to various neighbourhood development contexts."
"presented by CMHC"
(Key points from the presentation notes)
- 4.2million available
- will be split between 6 neighbourhoods across the country (= $500k+ each)
- money will be given to fund and support developers increasing their performance in 6 areas energy, land use, transportation, water, natural environment, financial viability
- this will be a competition style (no bar to exceed, no maximums)
- projects must be completed by 2012
- looking for projects that are the "most ready"... approvals, planning, etc. 
- key phrases "integration of systems" / "mix and proximity" / "measureable improvements"
- monies will be for "design improvements"
- *can be used for retrofits of existing buildings*
(For more info)
June 16 - there will be an info session. To participate, email your expression of interest

Looks like a great opportunity!!