Saturday, July 20, 2024

Victoria councillors push for underutilized rooftops to become green spaces


Two Victoria city councillors are bringing a motion before council this week that would see rooftops across the city be put to good use.

Councillors Jeremy Caradonna and Matt Dell wrote up the motion to see the city achieve environmental goals by making rooftops green. 

This could include installing solar panels, converting the unused space to a shared patio or putting in vegetation. 

Dell and Caradonna point to the pact that some buildings already have green roofs, including the CRD Building, the Wade Building and the Victoria Harbour Airport, but that the concept is still rare throughout the downtown core and beyond. 

“Many barriers are faced by builders who want to add rooftop features, including zoning regulations, FSR barriers, and difficulty securing building insurance,” they wrote in their motion. 

“In terms of rooftop green spaces, some jurisdictions, including Toronto, have passed legislation that require builders to install green roofs.” 

They say that in Toronto, the regulation requires between 20% and 60% of the surface area to be designated as green space in new builds.  

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While the two councillors do not wish to make this a mandatory requirement in Victoria, as it is in Toronto, they aim to reduce the number of barriers that builders face in implementing green roofs when they wish to do so. 

The motion, if passed, would see the regulations surrounding green roofs modified.

The motion recommends the City direct staff to explore zoning requirements surrounding green roof spaces, as well as the incentives and barriers that come along with them.

City staff would also then look into the same aspects surrounding rooftop solar and patios.

Part of this would be to specifically look at best practices from other municipalities, researching existing green roofs and considering water catchment, food production as well as other practices that align with the City’s sustainability goals. 

This motion will be brought before city council in their first Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday, January 11th.

Curtis Blandy

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