A Critical Evaluation of the Region of Waterloo’s Clean Air Plan

 

 

Tamara Levine, ID# 98042064

Kelly Millen, ID# 98368864

Belinda Laszlo, ID# 98127377

 

 

ERS 285 Greening the Campus

July 20, 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

  1. Executive Summary ……………………………………………………… 3
  2. Introduction …………………………………………………………… …. 3
  3. Methodology ……………………………………………………………… 5
    1. Purposive Interviewing …………………………………………… 6
    2. Secondary Research ………………………………………………. 7
  4. Limitations of Methodology ……………………………………………… 7
  5. Background ……………………………………………………………….. 8
    1. Climate Change …………………………………………………… 9
    2. Air Quality Indexes …………………………………………….…. 10
  6. The Citizens Advisory Committee on Clean Air Quality ………………... 11
  7. Evaluating the Design of the Waterloo Regional Clean Air Plan ………... 12
    1. Structure ………………………………………………………….. 12
    2. Staff …………………………………………………………….… 13
    3. Air Quality Co-ordinator ………………………………………… 14
    4. Innovative and Creative Funding ………………………………… 14
    5. Positive Empowering Message ………………………………….. 15
    6. Monitoring Data …………………………………………………. 15
    7. Clear Targets …………………………………………………….. 15
    8. Well Defined Goals ……………………………………………… 16
  8. Implementation ………………………………………………………….. 16
    1. The Regional Plan and Initiatives ……………………………….. 16
    2. The City of Kitchener Report …………………………………… 17
    3. The City of Cambridge Report …………………………………. 18
    4. The City of Waterloo Report …………………………………… 19
    5. Summary ………………………………………………………... 19
  9. Conclusions and Recommendations …………………………………….. 20

10.0 Works Cited ……………………………………………………………. 21

Appendix A — The Region of Waterloo’s Clean Air Plan

Appendix B — AQI Comparison for Select Southern Ontario Cities With Air Quality

Management Plans and St. Catherines

Appendix C — Citizens Advisory Committee On Air Quality: Report on 1999 Initiatives

Undertaken By Municipalities to Address The Objectives Of the Waterloo

Region Clean Air Plan

Appendix D — Member Organizations

Appendix E — Actor Involvement For The Region of Waterloo’s Clean Air Plan


1.0 Executive Summary:

This is an assessment of the design and implementation of the Waterloo Regional Clean Air Plan. The design of the plan was evaluated using criterion and characteristics established by the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research. The relative success of implementation of the plan in various municipalities was evaluated through key informant interviews and through the examination of the municipal reports produced in 1999.

Through this evaluation it was determined that the Waterloo Regional Clean Air Plan was a critical first step on a long road of air quality initiatives. The strength of the plan is evident through the well-coordinated response to air quality alerts. The plan would need further development in many areas, especially in the design and implementation of long term responses to air quality. The degree of implementation ranged significantly between the various municipalities. Significant efforts are needed in promoting community and individual action.

2.0 Introduction:

During the spring 2000 semester, the ERS 285 Greening The Campus course at the University of Waterloo has focused on air quality within the region of Waterloo. This is a testament to the prevalence and importance of this issue in society today. Poor air quality and the associated health risks are a perennial issue in urban areas. Air pollution has the potential to affect the personal health of residents and the local ecosystem, as well as the appearance and reputation of an area. In Southern Ontario, air pollution is responsible for approximately 1, 920 deaths annually (OMA, 2000). Among the urban centers within this region, Kitchener possesses the worst air quality, and in fact boasts the worst air quality of any city in Canada. (Canadian Geographic, 2000).

Many of the Watgreen projects being completed by our colleagues are investigating possible action that can be taken by the university to address air quality issues. Our project examined the action being taken at the Regional level. We have chosen to emphasize this aspect of air quality for several reasons. The first is that politics underlie most issues including air quality and action taken at the regional level will have a significant impact on air quality as a whole and on the actions of citizens. Secondly, we feel we can contribute to the development of an effective regional response to air quality by evaluating current policies and making recommendations for future change.

In recent years, significant efforts have been made to improve air quality in the Waterloo Region. This can be seen through the efforts of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Air Quality. In 1997 with the advice of this committee of concerned and informed citizens, the regional municipality of Waterloo implemented an air quality management plan called the Clean Air Plan (See Appendix A). The viability of this plan and any clean air plan depends on several key factors. These include transparency, comprehensiveness, implementability and long-term accountability.

It is from this premise of accountability that we define the purpose of our research. The detailed analysis of existing air management plans and the monitoring and modification of these plans is essential to ensuring that the most effective tools are being used to resolve the given problem.

The Waterloo Region Clean Air Plan is a critical first step to creating meaningful improvements in air quality. Increasing public awareness of air quality issues is a largely due to the hard work and dedication of numerous individuals within the region of Waterloo, most notably Alida Burett. Therefore, this analysis of the plan is in no way intended to undermine the value of developments to date. This analysis is intended to produce recommendations to enhance the ongoing development of this plan.

This project has assessed the Waterloo Region's Clean Air Plan in terms of its design and effective implementation. From this investigation we have attempted to objectively make recommendations to improve the plan in order to facilitate the design of better air quality initiatives within the Region of Waterloo.


For the purpose of this project, effectiveness is interpreted to mean capability of resulting in improved air quality within the region. The project also includes an in-depth look at the implementation of this policy. When considering the design, we will examine the ability of this policy to engage a range of actors, to ensure accountability and to address all sources of air pollutants. We will also look to see if these measures are the most effective means for dealing with these specific types of pollutants.

We recognize that air quality problems are transnational and therefore local air quality is affected by management plans in other locations. With the limited time and resources available to complete this project, we are unable to assess the air management strategies of the province, the nation or other nations such as the United States. Although these plans will affect air quality in the Waterloo Region, the scope of this research project is relatively narrow. We are only examining the Waterloo Region Clean Air Plan that encompasses the Region of Waterloo including the townships of Wilmot, Woolwich, North Dumfries, and Wellesley and the Cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo and the Municipality of Waterloo. The theoretical framework of this project is effective policymaking. We are looking at what conditions are essential to an effective regional air quality management strategy with specific emphasis on accountability.

3.0 Methodology:

The project has been divided into two sections: Design and Implementation. Information for the analysis of both the design and the implementation of the Clean Air Plan was obtained through interviews and secondary research. Originally we had intended to do direct quantitative and qualitative observation of air quality to determine if there was a notable impact on air quality but this did not prove to be feasible due to technological and temporal limitations.


3.1 Purposive interviewing

Key informants were critically selected from a range of disciplines. We were searching for candidates who could provide us with valid and reliable information regarding the region of Waterloo’s Clean Air Plan. Ultimately we selected authoritative figures in the fields of activism, education, health, transportation and policy. These included members of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Air Quality, students, researchers, representatives of the public and NGO’s.

The individuals were contacted in advance and in person interviews were set up. These interviews were originally based on twenty-three questions that were asked in a pre-determined order. Over time the interview technique was adapted to promote a comfortable and relaxed interview environment. The interviews became a casual discussion period in which the interview candidates were encouraged to focus on areas of interest and expertise.

The informants wished to minimize controversy and avoid confrontation, therefore they were often hesitant to criticize the Waterloo Regional Clean Air Plan’s design or make concrete recommendations for change. For this reason, we assured all participants anonymity. All individuals were informed that their permission would have to be obtained before they were identified in any manner and before quotations would be used. Therefore all quotations appearing within this paper have been obtained with permission from the interview candidates.

The interviews were taped for the use of the researchers only. Due to conflicting schedules and limited time, some key informants answered question by email and others through phone interviews. While all researchers were present during the initial two interviews later the work divided between the three researchers. A single researcher would conduct an interview and then consult with the other two.


3.2 Secondary research

A large portion of our research for this project was secondary research, compiled information from previously completed reports. The material was derived from the newspaper reports, academic papers, air quality plans from other municipalities, most notably the Windsor plan and various regional documents. These resources are listed in the bibliographical section at the end of this paper.

We have attempted wherever possible to obtain information from reputable sources such as referred journals. We have acted under the assumption that these resources are reliable. Reliability implies that repeated observations of the same phenomena should yield similar results and that different observers following the same procedures should arrive at the same conclusions." (Palys, 1997) We acknowledge that there is some inherent bias.

4.0 Limitations of Methodology

There are several limitations to our methods. These include limited time, bias and accountability.

The response rates of the people we contacted for potential interviews were disappointing. Many of the people we contacted for interviews did not respond or make any effort to meet with us. This created a limitation in our study because it restricted us from talking to and getting information from some vital individuals.

Due to the short timeline of the project and the limited availability of interview candidates we interviewed a far smaller sample than we would have liked. This sample was most likely skewed due to the fact that the people who were most readily available were either associated with the University of Waterloo and/or were members of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Air Quality.

As researchers we embarked on the project with several obvious biases. The first was the state of air quality and the effectiveness of the Clean Air Plan. While we were impresses that a plan existed we had the impression that it was merely a paper policy and not an effective means of improving air quality. Further more, we had been influenced by media reporting that suggested that air quality was declining within the region.

In order to deal with these biases we attempted to clearly lay them out and acknowledge them at the beginning and pursue interview candidates who held opposite views. Several of our biases changed over the course of this study. For example we began the project with the assumption that voluntary initiatives adopted by the region were insufficient to create change. We assumed that mandatory regulation would be necessary. However, after careful consideration of the political and social realities of the region we came to a consensus that voluntary initiatives are actually more desirable than regulation. This is because regulation is often controversial, expensive and difficult to enforce. Furthermore, citizens seem to be more receptive to plans they can design and implement themselves. Many or our key informants stated that the region did not want to get too far beyond its citizens.

Another limitation was created by the confidentiality factor in our interviews. Since we are unable to source some of our information and ideas it is difficult to be reliable. We attempted to account for this by using the interviews to help us formulate our ideas and get a sense of the needs of the Waterloo Region. We sited our recommendations from reputable sources such as other regional air plans.

5.0 Background

A range of factors contribute to air quality problems in the province of Ontario. These include local sources such as automotive and industrial emissions as well as external factors such as transboundary pollution from the United Stated. This results in the release of dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere. "Fossil fuel combustion is the largest source of carbon dioxide" (Environment Canada, 1995) which is released into the atmosphere. This air pollution can contribute to declining citizen health and global environmental damage in the form of climate change.

Smog is created from a mixture of sunlight, high temperatures, low air movement and the burning of fossil fuels (CACAQ, 1999). The prevalence of smog can compromise the viability of all living organisms and the environment. Specifically smog contributes to severe human health problems and the climate change phenomenon.

5.1 Climate Change

Smog is not the only threat that air pollution offers the Region of Waterloo and the remainder of the planet. The potential occurrence of climate change is another problem that exists with the current production rates of air pollutants. "Every product we consume requires energy to produce. Much of this energy is created by the use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which produces greenhouse gas emissions." (CEPA and CGA, 1998) The problems with increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, is that it upsets the natural equilibrium of the planet, which is responsible for regulating our current life-sustaining climate. The potential effects of climate change would drastically change our current ecosystems and would in many ways interrupt our present way of life. Listed below are some of the predicted effects of climate change.

(Environment Canada, 1995)

 

5.2 Air Quality Indexes

Currently in Ontario, air quality is measured using the Air Quality Index, (AQI). This rating structure is designed for outdoor air quality and is associated with "the lower the better," rating system. (MOE, 2000) "Based on data from its network of air monitoring stations, the Ministry of the Environment reports an AQI for many communities across Ontario to all major media outlets and the Ministry web site several times daily"(MOE, May 2000). The AQI focuses on six key air pollutants: sulfur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, total reduced sulfur compounds, carbon monoxide and suspended particles (MOE, May 2000). "The air monitoring data are then sent to a computer center located at the Ministry of the Environment. At this stage data are compared to an ambient air criterion for each of the six pollutants. These scientifically based criterion, indicate the maximum safe levels for a pollutant within the environment. Above this level, the pollutant begins to have an undesirable impact on people and the environment." (MOE, May 2000) It is important to note here that each pollutant is measured separately, and the daily AQI value is based on the pollutant, which is most severe on the particular day. (Environment Canada, May 19, 2000) An example of this, is as follows; "The AQI for ozone is 20, and this happens to be the highest out of the six pollutants measured. It is then reported as the overall AQI for a particular location. Specifically, it would be reported as an, "AQI of 20, reason: ozone." (MOE, May 2000)

When the pollutant levels exceed desirable allowances, Environment Canada, in conjunction with a variety of provincial and municipal partners issue smog or air quality advisories to the regions affected across Canada. The days in which pollutant levels are especially high are called, "episodes." (Environment Canada, May 19, 2000) "These advisories, usually the day before a day of an episode, encourage people and industries to help reduce air pollution, and provide information about the effects of smog on the environment and human health. Advisories are issued through the media, usually during radio and television weather forecasts." (Environment Canada, May 19, 2000)

Currently there are forty-six individual monitoring stations in Ontario including two within the Waterloo region, responsible for measuring specific AQI values. All of these monitoring stations are located in urban centers.

The Region of Waterloo possesses some of the worst air quality within the entire province. The number of days that selected cities in Ontario were exceeding specific air quality index levels can be observed through the tables within Appendix B and Table 1.0. It can be seen, generally from Table 1.0 that Kitchener is among the worst cities in Ontario for air quality. The City of Kitchener has the highest air quality index reading, (AQI), for the number of days that the AQI has been 32 and over. These statistics do not reflect positively upon the present and future health of the region.

6.0 The Citizens Advisory Committee on Clean Air Quality

In July of 1998, a Cambridge citizen, Alida Burett, founded the Citizens Advisory Committee on Air Quality. This committee was set up to address the growing concern for regional air quality within the community. The group was comprised of representatives from Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and the four townships under the jurisdiction of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. Following this movement, in November of 1998, "staff from the eight municipalities met to discuss a range of strategies which could be implemented to combat the problem of smog."(Appendix C).

Through the committee’s hard work and dedication a voluntary initiative known as "The Waterloo Regional Clean Air Plan" was adopted in principle by the region in April of 1999. The plan was designed to reduce public sector emissions and set an example for the private sector. To commemorate this ‘step in the right direction’, the Citizens Advisory Committee on Air Quality celebrated with an Air Quality festival. This celebration has been running for a total of two years at the present time. The second annual festival was marked with key note speakers such as Lois Corbett from the Toronto Environmental Alliance, various local government representatives, and demonstrations by companies such as Honda with their new low emissions vehicle, and the Ministry of the Environments mobile air quality monitoring unit. The representatives at this festival were only a few of those that have and are contributors to the clean air plan. Although it is key that this clean air plan is only a voluntary initiative, its strength lies in the fact that it is a step in the direction towards improving the regions local air quality problems. The plan is now embarking upon its two-year anniversary, and it is time to further this step in order to uphold this strong stance against air pollution.

7.0 Evaluating the Design of the Waterloo Regional Clean Air Plan

The criteria for evaluating the Waterloo Clean Air Plan were derived from a report presented in April 2000 by the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER, 2000). This report was a review of the characteristics that have contributed to the success of select smog action plans. The key characteristics mentioned in these reports were: permanent structure, full-time staff, air quality coordinator, innovative and creative funding mechanisms, a positive and empowering message, reliable monitoring date, clear targets, and well-defined goals. These characteristics are the basis of our evaluation. Throughout our evaluation, we have tried to recognize the unique social, political and economic characteristics of the Waterloo Region.

7.1 Structure

Successful air quality programs must regularly engage a wide-range of actors in designing, evaluating and promoting various initiatives. In essence a coalition with representatives from a range of disciplines that meets regularly is an essential part of any efforts to address air quality.

In the Waterloo Region, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Clean Air Quality brings together citizens, elected representatives and staff from the cities including members of various health organizations (Appendix D). The stability of this organization and the broad range of actors are a huge asset to the air quality response program.

 

The only notable absence from this coalition is provincial representation. The jurisdiction of the region is limited. While the Planning Act and Municipal Act give the municipality limited jurisdiction over land use planning and nuisance regulation that would enable idling by-laws to be implemented, the municipal government does not have the power to establish air pollution controls on industry or vehicles. The province has control over many factors that affect air quality within the region. Therefore, any local action should be coordinated with provincial action.

The general response to this recommendation during purposive interviews has been mixed with many people stating the historical divide been municipal and provincial workers. We would like to point out that the Toronto Anti-Smog Working group encompasses provincial and city representatives. This may be a precedent that the Waterloo Region can follow. We recommend that the province be included either within the coalition itself or that some other mechanism is devised to ensure regular communication between the various levels of government.

Lastly, we absorbed that the coalition appears to be rather transient. The organization may benefit from a permanent location or office where meetings could be held. Perhaps this could be achieved through an in kind donation.

7.2 Staff

The Citizen’s Advisory Committee is an organization that thrives on the efforts of their volunteers. While many individuals dedicate a significant amount of energy to the coalition, at present, there is no full-time staff. There are employees at the Ontario Lung Association and in various other organizations (Appendix D) who focus entirely on air quality issues. At the present time, no specific individual is formally employed by the region dedicated to finding a regional strategy to address air quality issues. We feel that full-time staff should be appointed for the region and in each of the participating communities.

7.3 Air Quality Coordinator

An unbiased person or group who is seen as neutral by all stakeholders involved in the air quality issue should act as an Air Quality Coordinator. They would be the key coordinator of all air quality initiatives and act as the liason between the public and the air quality committee. This coordinator would be responsible for fielding the questions from the public and other interest groups.

To date, there has not been an Air Quality Coordinator appointed within the Region of Waterloo. A central coordinator should be appointed with the necessary administrative support staff and resources, in addition to this an Air Quality Coordinator should be appointed for each of the participating cities and townships.

7.4 Innovative and Creative Funding

Financial and ‘in kind’ donations have been received from each of the participating municipalities. There has been very little effort to obtain outside funds from public or foundation sources. The one notable exception to this was the commuter challenge.

There is a range of possible funding sources at the Federal or Provincial government and from the Private sector. These include the Climate Change Action Fund; The Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Hydro Citizen Program to name a few. It has not been our objective to identify all possible funding sources. We strongly recommend that alternative funding mechanisms be explored in order to further the air quality improvement initiative within the Waterloo region.

Furthermore, we recommend that a study on the financial benefits of implementing these programs be completed . Theoretically, energy savings would result in significant financial benefits. If this is proved to be true, it has the potential to provide significant impetus for the implementation of various measures.

7.5 Positive Empowering Message

Education and public outreach are a critical aspect of an air quality initiative. The Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Air Quality has a separate education committee dedicated to public outreach. This committee has organized many events including a lecture series at the Kitchener Public Library and two Air Quality Festivals. An important part of outreach is leaving a slogan or message people can remember. The current slogan used by the committee is ‘are you helping or hindering’. This slogan is not often used. It should be used more in order to instill a lasting impression with the public. The committee should also explore avenues for conveying this slogan in a manner that will remind citizens of their invaluable contributions.

7.6 Monitoring Data

The design of any plan to address air quality issues requires reliable information on the sources and effects of smog emissions as well as the current state of air quality. There is a notable shortage of information in all three categories. We believe that more time and resources should be invested into air quality research within the region. There are presently two stations taking air quality readings within the Waterloo Region. There should be more to provide a better indicator of the daily fluctuations of air quality. Perhaps engaging universities within the region in air quality surveys would be a relatively inexpensive means of obtaining this data.

7.7 Clear Targets

Clear and specific targets are an essential aspect of any plan aimed at addressing air quality. The Waterloo Regional Clean Air Plan seems to lack timelines and specific definitions essential to these clear targets. An example of this is, the first short-term strategy identifies the need for a "Green Fleet" policy. The term "Green Fleet’ is poorly defined and there is no indication of any timelines. Throughout the plan there are also frequent references to "where possible" and "where feasible". This allows a high degree of flexibility and leaves the plan to be interpreted by the individual municipalities.

7.8 Well Defined Goals

The Waterloo Regional Clean Air Plan clearly identifies both short and long term goals. These may be enhanced by target dates, but as a whole they are effective and well defined.

The air quality plan must address two specific situations. The first is an air quality advisory response, and the second is prevention. While the Region of Waterloo has an effective, comprehensive and coordinated response to smog alerts, ongoing activities aimed at prevention and reduction are less prevalent.

7.9 Impact of Air Quality

Due to the limitations of current technology it is impossible to measure whether the Clean Air Plan and associated activities have resulted in any reduction in emissions. It is probable that actions taken by individuals are having some smaller impacts upon air quality but this impact is relatively minor. It will take many years of dedicated action before AQI values will begin to fall. Plans such as the Waterloo Regional Clean Air Plan serve as powerful models for other municipalities and citizens to encourage action. The next step is to motivate the public at large including sub-local groups such as the universities and citizens groups to take action.

8.0 Implementation

8.1 The Regional Plan and Initiatives

One key difference between the region’s actions and the three cities, is that of political jurisdiction. Due to the fact that there are different tiers of local government, the region is somewhat limited in its initial plans to implement clean air plans. Another consideration in the region’s fight against air pollution is that the current political agenda plays a significant role in determining the severity of the stance taken to combat an issue. An example of this can be seen in the reluctance of the region to implement an anti-idling by-law due to the backlash of the recent no smoking bylaw within the region.

In comparison to the three cities' initiatives, the regional report is one page in length. A strength that lies in the region’s report is that it is divided into functional sections. Critically, this can be interpreted as an effort to make specific recommendations. From this we can deduce that the air quality issue is a high priority in the region. In contrast, municipalities that have produced less specific reports have perhaps placed air quality lower on the agenda. One thing that is absent within the plan of the region is that of a timeline. In recognizing that this is a voluntary initiative, a time line suggesting deadlines for revisions or future suggestions is lacking. A time line of sorts would strengthen the report and demonstrate that it is a working process, not a one-time event. Overall the report on 1999 initiatives for the region looks at short term and long term possibilities. However, the majority of the report is looking to the short term, which is usually undertaken at a time when the actions can be seen as too little to late. Similar to the cities reports is the vague language used to convey that the government is looking into the possibility of implementing such provisions to make the region contribute less to our fragile air quality problem.

8.2 The City of Kitchener Report

Out of the four reports on the 1999 clean air plan initiatives, the city of Kitchener’s report is the weakest in terms of design and implementation. The report is very brief, and spans only one page. Critically, this suggests a low priority on the part of the city of Kitchener, in terms of time commitment and resources dedicated towards the policy of the region. Furthering this claim, is the format of the report, it contains no sections. In summary it is a short summary of what the city of Kitchener plans to do "when the air quality index is 50 or greater."(1999 report on initiatives) These initiatives with the exception of one are only short-term plans. And the one that could be interpreted as long term is really a short-term plan that has yet to be implemented. A consistent feature with all the reports including the Kitchener report is the vague language to further the voluntary philosophy that the region’s plan is based upon. The approach that the Kitchener report takes in tackling the smog problem is reactionary, rather than proactive. It does however contain an innovative element. This element is the statement of the intent to look into the financial viability of reducing bus fare on smog days. This approach while reactionary in theory, is a strong step in the direction of improving air quality by promoting alternative modes of transportation. It is these innovative strategies that are imperative to the future of taking the next step in improving our local air quality. In order for Kitchener to take another step in the air quality initiatives, it needs to expand upon its existing plans and provide a long-term strategy that can be incorporated with a short-term plan. This would join the reactionary initiatives with the proactive. Finally, the City of Kitchener should examine the City of Waterloo’s lengthy report for an example of where they can make improvements.

8.3 The City of Cambridge Report

In critiquing the three cities reports, the City of Cambridge is in the middle of the continuum of perceived effort. In terms of its length, the report of the initiatives for Cambridge was one and a half pages. It contained specific, focused and divided sections. As mentioned in the critiques of the other reports, the sections seem to be an indication of priority and focus within the lower tiered governments. Cambridge has set out the most specific plan in terms of locations and numbers. Although many of these initiatives are similar to those of the other cities, they are elaborated upon in a way that fosters a clearer and more specific understanding. On the down side some of the initiatives listed in Cambridge’s report are those that have been in the works before the clean air plan was adopted. In essence, these initiatives were simply statement about previously existing initiatives. This demonstrates that Cambridge has been actively pursuing projects without the support of the clean air plan. It also indicates that much of the report and plan have not fostered anything new or innovative on the part of the city. The strength of this report lies in the very fact that things are getting done in Cambridge. There are a variety of long term and short term initiatives within the plan, however, a time line would be the strengthening point for the report, as it would further the message that Cambridge is well on its way to combating poor air quality problems within the region. To further this report, a more in-depth look at the future and the use of the City of Waterloo’s plan would be beneficial in providing a clear direction for the next year of the plan.

8.4 The City of Waterloo’s Report

Out of all the reports examined in the 1999 initiative summary, the City of Waterloo was the lengthiest. This report on Waterloo’s initiatives included the most in-depth examination of the possibilities for improving local government practices. The entire report was broken down into specific focus areas including: what the city is doing, its rationale, and recommendations. It is obvious that the city of Waterloo has considered the issue from many avenues within the local government. Although it appears that the City of Waterloo has put a great deal of time and effort into developing their strategy, actual action is an area of specific weakness. This report contains a lot of the vague language that indicates that the city is ‘looking into’ taking specific action. Despite the vague language the report did contain some great and innovative ideas. These ideas incorporate long-term and short-term strategies. They also include a variety of proactive and reactive measures. This report is a model for other cities because of the incorporation of these ideas, its layout, and the length. In recognizing that this plan is a voluntary local government initiative, the plan would be easier to implement if other businesses were involved. This would enhance the team approach, and further develop a sense of community within all of the cities, including Waterloo.

8.5 Summary

In light of the previous critiques, the most significant barrier to these plans is the public’s lack of knowledge and access to these reports. Community involvement is significant, and support from its constituents is what drives local government. This clean air plan was designed to be for government, but it might be time to let the community in on their big secret.

9.0 Conclusions/Recommendations

While recognizing the strength behind the first step taken by the region to improve air quality, it is advisable to continue with this motion and further the implementation into the community at large. In order to encourage community involvement with this initiative, it is strongly advised that the region adopt an advertising campaign including a slogan. This advertising campaign will open the policy up to the public at large to encompass all of the actor groups present within our community, the Waterloo Region (Appendix, E). Perhaps to encourage community participation, a report card of municipal activities should be an annual government practice in order to promote a more accountable public democracy. As students at the University of Waterloo, we would really like to see a similar plan adopted by this institution. Although, the future can not be told on this issue, one thing that is known is the plan will increase the awareness on the issue of degrading air quality and may encourage the public, businesses and others to take a proactive stance, rather than a retroactive response.

10.0 Work Cited:

Burrett, Alida (2000) Waterloo Region is No. 1! Too bad it’s for

air-pollution levels. May 12 ,2000. A18.

Crone, Greg. (1997)"Respiratory Woes Persist, Critic Says." The Kitchener-Waterloo Record. 26 July 1997: A3.

Environment Canada. www.ec.gc.ca October 4, 1999.

Environment Canada Atmospheric Environment Service. www1.tor.ec.gc.ca/index October 4, 1999.

Fisher, Craig. An Air Quality Management Plan for The City of St Catherine’s.

University of Waterloo. Unpublished.

Hamilton-Wentworth. Hamilton-Wentworth Air Quality Initiative Summary Report. October, 1997.

Health Canada. www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Healthy City Office, City of Toronto. Smog: Make It Or Break It. April 1998

London, Ontario Advisory Committee on the Environment. www.city.on.ca/council/ace/ace-work.htm

Kennedy, Ryan (2000). Participants breathe easy at Waterloo’s second annual Air Qualty

Festival. Waterloo Chronicle. Wednesday May 17, 2000. 23.

McAndrew, Brian, (2000) Air Pollution — a killer for all seasons. The Toronto Star, May 19th, 2000.

Mississauga Air Quality Advisory Committee. City of Mississauga Corporate Smog Response Plan 1999. June 23, 1999.

National Resources Defense Council. www.nrdc.org/nrdc

Niagara Region. www.regional.niagara.on.ca/niagara.html

Niagara Region Public Health Department. www.regional.niagara.on.ca/departments/health/index.html

Ontario Medical Association. www.oma.org

Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Air Quality in Ontario: A concise report on the state of air quality in Ontario 1997. August 1999.

Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Green Facts. September, 1998.

Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Smog Alert: A Municipal Response Guide. May 1999.

Ontario Ministry of the Environment. www.ene.gov.on.ca

Palys, Ted; (1997) Research Decisions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives 2nd

Edition Simon Fraser Univeristy, Harcourt Brace & Company, Canada.

Region of Waterloo. Waterloo Region Clean Air Plan. Sept. 26, 1999.

Sharpe, Marie. Letter. The Kitchener-Waterloo Record. 1 Aug 1997: A10.

Simone, Rose. "Region may limit time cars are allowed to idle." 2 Oct 1999: B01.

Statistics Canada. WWW.StatCan.CA

Waterloo Region. Waterloo Region Clean Air Plan. 1999.

Unknown Author. (2000) Canada’s Smoggiest Places —Geomap. Canadian Geographic.

May/June 2000.