Congratulations Groundswell Urban Planners!
Great article on how Groundswell corporately and Brad personally has had such a positive impact on our shared local environment through corporate donations and sponsorship of LSCF, Brad’s leadership as President and Past President of the LSCF Board as well as a key contributor to the Inspiring Greener Communities Program with watershed builders.
Brad is now Co-Chair of our new Campaign Leadership Team to re-build the Nature Centre at Scanlon Creek Conservation Area. Such a great example for all of us!
View the article here:
A healthy Lake Simcoe watershed is a shared responsibility
Ensuring the Lake Simcoe watershed we live in is healthy for years to come is a shared responsibility.
And it’s one where developers often get a bad rap.
“There is a perception out there that developers are not good,” said Newmarket resident and Groundswell Urban Planners Inc. principal partner Brad Rogers.
Groundswell is an urban planning consulting company.
“We’re in the land development business,” Rogers said. “But there needs to be a balance between development and conservation.”
Rogers sought to bridge that gap personally and professionally.
And water runs deep in his veins. Rogers is a descendant of early area settler Timothy Rogers m(the Rogers Reservoir is named after him).
He is also past-president of the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation, which raises money to support a healthy Lake Simcoe watershed by funding Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority projects.
On a professional level, Rogers, together with other Groundswell senior partners, made the decision to support the foundation on an ongoing basis.
Corporate sponsorships make up about 30 per cent of the foundation’s donations, which in turn support the work of the authority.
Last year, the authority worked on more than 15 projects throughout the watershed.
Recently, Groundswell presented the foundation with a $50,000 cheque, which was a culmination of monthly support to the tune of $400 each month.
“Developers have an obligation and a responsibility to build complete communities,” said Groundswell partner and senior planner Kerigan Kelly.
“Actions impact a greater scope. It’s larger than lot lines or the immediate subdivision.”
Maintaining a healthy watershed is a shared responsibility, said foundation executive director Cheryl Taylor.
“What we do goes well beyond (local borders),” Taylor said. “What we do here eventually flows north to the Great Lakes, then to the oceans. It’s all one world.”
The reduction of greenspace directly hinders the watershed. And developers are looking at how they can mitigate that.
The idea of stormwater management ponds dates back to the 1980s, Rogers said, and it’s a design that is still used by developers today. But they’re using new techniques including building larger ponds, incorporating more landscaping as well as more naturally restored areas.
And developers are also leaning toward more low-impact housing, using permeable surfaces and incorporating rain gardens.
There’s a market demand for homes with a lighter footprint, Rogers added.
All these pieces fit together.
A lot of the work Groundswell does is on behalf of developers, such as obtaining permits from the town and from the authority.
To further connect developers with the watershed, during his time with the conservation foundation, Rogers helped initiate a green welcome package for new residents, sponsored by developers.
The package was filled with natural products, services as well as information and advice on natural gardens, rain barrels, a map of the watershed and information on what green initiatives and features were incorporated into the new home.
The welcome-home package is part of the foundation’s Inspiring Greener Communities program — developers are encouraged to pledge support on a home-by-home basis for watershed-wide restoration and protection projects.
“Developers are listening,” Taylor explained. “And greener (features) doesn’t mean more expensive, either.”
Several developers building throughout the watershed have jumped on board with the green welcome-home package, including developers in Aurora, Newmarket, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Uxbridge and Innisfil.
For more information, visit lakesimcoefoundation.ca
Credit: Amanda Persico