The Time is Ripe
A survey of financing tools to enable urban biodiversity conservation finance in the City of Toronto
People have sought refuge in parks during the pandemic amidst public health restrictions. Under Section 42 of Ontario’s Planning Act, developers must provide cash-in-lieu (CIL) for their projects when parkland cannot be conveyed. In Toronto, there is an uncommitted balance of over CDN $207 million in a parkland reserve fund. These funds can be used towards parkland acquisitions at a time of high residential construction activity. This report examines Section 42 and the City of Toronto’s Parkland Dedication Rate. It also unpacks: 1) how these funds can be used towards achieving biodiversity conservation goals, 2) illustrates new opportunities for parkland acquisition funding, and 3) explores new opportunities to partner with Indigenous communities. This report details over 25 private and public sector financial tools for parkland acquisition or for parks’ operating budgets. Interviews were conducted with 21 individuals in the financial, government, and non-profit sectors in Canada, Costa Rica, the U.K. and the U.S. This report makes recommendations that City of Toronto officials can apply towards improving their parkland acquisition policies to take advantage of market conditions and facilitate biodiversity conservation.
This blog is cross-posted on The Urban Hulk, a consultancy and blog run by Jean-François. The link can be found below.