Moving is NOT an Option

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With Thanks to our Funders - The Hamilton Community Foundation


Moving is NOT an Option is made possible with the generous support of the Hamilton Community Foundation.  Through the Foundation's "Tackling Poverty Together" fund, we've been able to create initiate innovative approaches to environmental enhancement and protection in Hamilton's lower city. For more information on the Hamilton Community Foundation, please visit


This initative, started in 2005, is funded by the Hamilton Community Foundation's "Tackling Poverty Together II" initiative.

The goal of Moving is NOT an Option is to support residents as they address environmental issues in their own communities.  Read about various initatives below: 

Bringing Eco-Fairs to Schools!


Environment Hamilton has partnered with a number of schools including St. Helens, St. Augustine's, Our Lady of Assumption, St Mark's and St. John the Baptist to host "Eco-Fairs." What does an Eco-Fair look like? This day of excitement and educational activities has the kids attending different stations throughout the school to learn about water conservation, eating locally, recycling and more.

But this day is not just for the kids - when the last bell of the day rings, parents and the community are invited into the schools to learn what their children have learned. Parents can find out about what organizations like Green Venture and Environment Hamilton do and can see what programs the City offers.

In previous fairs, agenices like Union Gas have offered free BBQs and energy saving kits for parents to take home and Horizon Utilities has handed out energy efficient light bulbs. 

Every school that has hosted an Eco-Fair has been able to achieve "Gold Status" under the EcoSchool Ontario program that started in 2002. Visit for more information.

These eco-fairs are just one example of what the dedicated staff in schools across Hamilton are doing currently  to increase  green knowledge in their students.

More Greening Schools ideas...

Earle Gray Kitchener.jpg

Earl Kitchener School
in the Kirkendall Neighbourhood approached Environment Hamilton for more greening ideas. They are already recycling and have a green team but they were looking for other green activities for their students.  In a brain storming session with EH staff, the interest in highlighting walkability around the school emerged. The idea? Create a large map and use it as an educational tool to teach kids about learning directions, identifying places of interest in their community, and even utilizing the map in math lessons on graphing. On the map, the school is highlighted in green and everything else is yellow. Each building has its address included so that kids can see exactly which home is theirs. Thanks goes to Councillor McHattie for covering the costs of printing the 32inch X 36inch map.

Need ideas or some support to help green your school? Contact Julia Kollek at Environment Hamilton at 905-549-0900 or email:

Keeps on Growing!

McQuesten Garden 2010.JPG

We have been inspired by the work done at McQuesten Community Garden and we are providing as much support as we can.  EH donated two large rain barrels to the garden during the summer of 2010 and we have committed to send out staff to various events to get the garden growing and thriving. 

The garden is in its 3rd year and currently all 48 plots have been rented as community members have come out in droves to grow their own food.  A chain linked fence has recently gone up, thanks to the hard work of local leaders, Pat Reid and Theresa Phair and many others, and they joined forces with Home Depot to make the fence a reality.  Read about it in this Spec article.

With approval of a grant (never offered to a community garden before), McQuesten Community Garden is looking to expand the scope of the garden to include canning workshops, events and outreach.

We will continue to offer as much support as possible to this group, as they continue to fulfill their own needs.

Working With Community Members to Eliminate Industrial Emission Problems

Environment Hamilton continues to work with local community members to ensure that emission problems at local industrial facilities are properly resolved.  Our efforts include photo-documenting the problems we see.  One of our community volunteers has started a blog called 'Hamilton Stacks' which regularly posts photos of stack emission problems taken by concerned Hamiltonians.   You can visit the blog at 


We also watch industrial stacks on a regular basis.  One example: we observed the major upset at US Steel/ Stelco's blast furnace.  The company was forced to do what is referred to as a 'bleed' because of a pressure build-up in one of its blast furnaces.  The result was a dramatic black cloud that wafted over the city.  The incident occurred on 2008, while the EH board was meeting.  We saw the cloud float towards our offices, and were able to capture it in the photo to the left.


Media Coverage:
In 2007, read about Biox and "black snow" in the North End

Dundas Residents Oppose Plans to Proposed Development at St. Joseph Villa

In September 2009, Dundas residents and organizations concerned about the development proposal at the villa lined up at a Planning and Economic Development meeting to oppose the construction of two 10-storey condominium buildings at the St. Joseph's site.  The residents were praised for their presentations, each arguing a different viewpoint against the development.  The city councillors on the planning committee acknowledged they learned from the Dundas presenters that:

1. the new development contradicts the city's rules and guidelines.
2. the construction of the two buildings  would mean the loss of land currently ear-marked for long term care development.

Despite the direct conflict with the City's own development guidelines, a final decision has yet to be made.  Councillor Russ Powers has been designated to create a plan that would be approved by both sides.  Until then, the residents of Dundas and partners should be praised for collecting 1200 names on their petition and sending in 130 letters and emails to city councillors  in opposition.
To read the City Staff report, go to:

Home Depot and EH Build Birdhouses With Woodward Students

Environment Hamilton (EH) arranged for Home Depot to visit Woodward Junior Public School to help the students take a break from their daily reading, writing and arithmetic, and…build birdhouses.  A team of smiling EH staff and Home Depot employees arrived at the school, nestled in East Hamilton's industrial district, bright and early, to be warmly welcomed by the Woodward Elementary School Family. 

Of course, the handypersons in orange aprons, led by the enthusiastic Annie Kravitz, didn't arrive empty handed.  They brought a birdhouse building kit for each student.  Together Home Depot and Environment Hamilton staff led kindergarteners to grade sixes all day long as they sanded, screwed, hammered and assembled their birdhouses—with a few bent nails and rough edges here and there—just in time to take home for Dad on father's day, or maybe just the summer birds in the backyard.  Passers-by would have noted the dozens of Woodward students in their little orange workshop aprons working together, one student holding the pieces steady for another, on the front porch of the school.  Outside, the weather was perfect, and the hammering could be heard by the beleaguered ears in french class down the hall.  While most of Home Depot staff were teamed with Woodward students, others were planting gorgeous new gardens just a few feet away; orange flowers for the Home Depot, and yellow for Woodward's own colours. 

At the end of the day, almost 175 birdhouses later, each student also took home an Energy Savings Kit, provided by Environment Hamilton, with energy-efficient light bulbs, shower-heads, and insulation, good for the bills and the environment.  This isn't the first time Environment Hamilton has partnered with the school. 

In the past, EH has worked with Woodward students to reduce their daily waste by 95%.  EH Project Manager Brenda Johnson, and Woodward principal Joyce Munroe said Friday's birdhouse workshop is proof that when local businesses, organizations and children get together, everybody ends up a winner, all look forward to the next partnership, even if there were a few slivers and sore thumbs.

Meltshop.JPGApplication for Review of Dofasco’s dirty meltshop - EH and residents unhappy with response from MOE

North End residents started stack watching after repeated soot fallout events and found regular violations with some problem stacks. Dofasco’s Meltshop seemed to be one of the worst... more

woodward1.JPGWoodward Elementary School reduces waste by 95%!

In 2007, we visited Woodward Elementary School to talk about green projects that we could work on together. This school is situated deep in the city's industrial core, a stone's throw from the sewage treatment plant, the QEW, the Red Hill Expressway and the recently excavated Rennie Street Landfill. Little did we know that this school would nearly eliminate its waste sent to landfill. They reduced their garbage from 96 to 4 bags per month!

                                                                             Read media coverage in 2007 

                                                                                 and in 2008 

Keith bus route.JPGHow the Keith neighbourhood bus route came back!

You asked for it... you got it! A new north-south HSR route along Wentworth and Victoria begins operation on June 23…more.

Read media coverage here.

Thanks to our superstar, volunteer, Jarah who came up with the wedding concept of the the Keith bus line being "married" to HSR, we celebrated this day - complete with a reverend and cake!  In the photos, you will see
Rev. George Beals from St. David's Church in one photo and in another community members, Brian and Barb  alongside HSR, Don Hull representing the official "vows" that the neighbourhood would use the bus and the HSR would provide the bus service. 


Read about past Project Manager, Brenda Johnson in this Spec article (2006)