How development planning can have a big impact on climate change

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Where Prince Edward Island allows construction could be a big part of how the province achieves its net-zero goals, a legislative committee heard Thursday.

The Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Committee asked the PEI Institute of Professional Planners to speak about the importance of a formal provincial land use plan, which would prescribe where Islanders could build certain types of developments – and where they couldn’t.

While this type of planning can be important for any jurisdiction, it is especially important for PEI, where 44% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. The province has identified encouraging active transportation as a way to reduce these emissions.

“If we build everywhere, it’s harder to provide public transport everywhere. If we build everywhere, it makes bike lanes longer and more complicated,” said institute president Samantha Murphy.

“If we just consider building based on an application received and not all other service delivery goals, we can undermine the sustainability of those services.”

Research shows that if a person’s destination is more than two miles away, they’re unlikely to use active transportation, Murphy said.

“If we’re building everywhere, it’s harder to provide public transit everywhere,” says Samantha Murphy of the PEI Institute of Professional Planners. (Radio Canada)

This is where planning comes in.

Organize your province in a way that encourages people to use active transportation or design a public transit system that can get people where they need to go easily, without making it unreasonably expensive.

“One of the things we’ll be looking at when we look at our official plan policies is to kind of densify, so intensify, incorporate mixed uses and make active transportation trails easily accessible and easy to use,” said former institute president Robert Zilke, who also appeared before the committee.

A provincial plan is needed, Murphy said, because cities and towns don’t cover enough land and high housing prices are pushing people to rural areas.

Robert Zilke, PEI Institute of Professional Planners, at a legislative committee meeting
Robert Zilke, former president of the PEI Institute of Planners, says densification is key. (Radio Canada)

“Even when a municipality does planning – and that’s only 10%, more or less, of the landmass – it can only control areas within its boundaries,” she said. declared.

“Even though they have a very expansive plan that thinks about emissions and compact communities and how they’re designed and if we have density, those councils, those municipalities have limited control over what’s going on there. ‘outside.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone lives in urban areas, she said.

But that means looking at small towns and hubs where services could be improved, or maybe services existed in the past but not now.

In PEI, 44% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. (Radio Canada)
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