June 19, 2008
Media Release

York Region confirms its commitment to improving air quality

Corporate Air Quality Strategy outlines clean air initiatives to address air pollution
NEWMARKET – York Regional Council today approved the Corporate Air Quality Strategy that outlines a series of Region-wide initiatives to improve air quality.  The Strategy addresses all Regional activities and operations that contribute to air pollution and sets goals for reducing the Region’s environmental impact.
 
"York Region has a rich history of environmental responsibility as demonstrated through long-range plans such as Vision 2026, the Regional Official Plan and our Sustainability Strategy,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “Taking daily action at a corporate level affirms our ongoing commitment to addressing air pollution and climate change.”
 
In 2003, York Regional Council endorsed the establishment of the Corporate Clean Air Task Force. 
Comprised of employees from all Regional departments, with input from area municipalities and other external agencies, this group has been working to meet a mandate of identifying, developing and recommending department-specific corporate clean air actions and incorporating these recommendations into a comprehensive Air Quality Strategy.
 
“A great deal of research and hard work has gone into the completion of the Corporate Clean Air Strategy,” said Town of Markham Regional Councillor Jack Heath, Chair of the Region’s Health and Emergency Medical Services Committee.  “We look forward to showing how much of an impact organizations can make with a concentrated environmental strategy.”  
 
“The Corporate Clean Air Task Force has compiled an inventory of ongoing and proposed initiatives to improve air quality, reviewed best practices from other jurisdictions and met with external stakeholders to solicit feedback,” said City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio, Chair of The York Region Corporate Clean Air Task Force.  “The Strategy outlines over 60 initiatives to improve air quality in areas including facility energy use, street and traffic lighting, public transit and corporate fleets.”
 
Some of the Region’s ongoing environmental initiatives contained in the Strategy include:
• The York Region Transportation Master Plan
• York Region Transit (YRT)/Viva public transit and solar-powered transit shelters
• 20/20 The Way to Clean Air Campaign
• The corporate recycling program
• The Water for Tomorrow program
• Mandatory Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification for all new Regional buildings 
 
New initiatives include:
• Developing a Strategic Energy Plan
• Wind power initiatives
• Expansion of corporate hybrid vehicles
• Corporate vehicle anti-idling policies
• YRT diesel-electric and bio-diesel fuel pilot-projects
• The expansion of Viva’s rapid transit’s transit-only rapidways
• Implementation of the Regional Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan
The next step for York Region is to act on Strategy recommendations and to develop and implement department-specific actions.  An employee Clean Air Committee will be formed to determine the priority for implementation of clean air initiatives.
 
Residents can learn more about reducing energy use at home and on the road by visiting www.cleanairpartnership.org/2020/index.php
 
To view the Corporate Clean Air Strategy, please visit www.york.ca/Departments/CAO/Strategic+Initiatives/Corporate+Strategy
 
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
 Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 251-5553
 Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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