Community Plan – We protect our environment

We protect our environment

People in Guelph are fiercely protective of the environment and proud of our record in waste diversion, energy management and groundwater conservation. Now we want to go farther, continuing to lead our province and country. We honour the knowledge of our First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Our green spaces and wild places, our bees and our trees, must be protected and nurtured. We will make bold, innovative, collaborative decisions to face and reduce the impacts of climate change. We are stewards.

Protect and sustain what we have

  • Water sources are protected, and our water systems are managed in harmony with the environment.
  • Our food system is sustainable.
  • Our natural heritage—including the urban forest and biodiversity—is nurtured, not damaged.
  • Our rivers, parks and green spaces are preserved, and the tree canopy is abundant.
  • Development occurs in harmony with the natural environment.

Reclaim what might otherwise be wasted

  • Brownfields and underutilized sites are redeveloped.
  • We recycle and upcycle, reuse and repurpose everything from food to furniture—we are a circular community with a circular economy.

Go further than any other city

  • We make bold decisions and take immediate action on how we will protect our environment.
  • Guelph is a model city for energy and water conservation, waste diversion and sustainable development.

Prepare for the future

  • Climate change infrastructure is in place to create a resilient city.
  • We minimize consumption of water, energy and other natural resources.
  • We invest in innovation and technology that will reduce our impact on our natural environment.

Steward our resources

  • People understand the importance and value of the land we share and are connected to it.
  • Our community learns from the past and each other to adopt sustainable practices and make better decisions.
  • We support, celebrate and recognize great examples of environmental leadership and partnership.

What we heard

What we care about

  • People want Guelph to be known as an environmentally conscious city, second only to being a good place for families/diversity, community and livability.
  • 97 per cent of people feel that “environment, water and waste” was the most important issue to focus on in the next 10 years for future generations, and to be ready for climate change.

What we’re proud of

  • Guelphites pride themselves on being at the forefront of environmental stewardship, sustainable development, water conservation, wetland protection, renewable energy, carbon emissions reduction and waste reduction

How we can do better

  • There is interest in becoming the “greenest,” “most sustainable” city in Ontario, with ideas like bio-power generation, solar micro-grids, electric vehicle charging stations and bans on plastic bags, straws and water bottles.
  • There is recognition that we can’t be complacent and need to do more to protect the watershed and ensure we have a sustainable groundwater supply.
  • People want developers and other businesses to adopt sustainable practices.
  • Some feel that Guelph should showcase to the world how to be a biodiverse city.