YORKLANDS GREEN HUB
Innovating, Educating and Collaborating to Open Green Doors to the Future
WHO WE ARE:
Yorklands Green Hub (YGH) is a non-partisan citizens group that promotes the repurposing of part of the former Guelph Correctional Centre (GCC), and transforming this heritage site within the City of Guelph into a public “Ontario Sustainable Environments Centre.”
Our group formed in May 2013 when we learned of the provincial initiative to consider proposals for adaptive reuse or development of the GCC lands and buildings. An initial proposal to our MPP, the Hon. Liz Sandals, who supports our vision, tasked us to gauge public support for the idea. To date, over 2,500 individuals have signed a petition as supporters, and more than 40 provincial and local groups have given us their official endorsement of our vision.
We envision repurposing 70 acres of the heritage land and superintendent’s house on this provincially owned unused property to create an active green hub. This centre, created for Ontario’s public domain, will be a self-sustaining education, demonstration, innovation and research hub that will focus on sustainable local food production, wise water use & wetland protection, as well as heritage and energy conservation and renewable energy technologies.
The site will provide the opportunity for people of all ages to work, learn, and innovate with the common purpose of being engaged stewards of our land, food, water, and energy resources. It is an ideal site to provide work space, indoor and outdoor displays, rotating exhibits, workshops, lectures, videos and educational materials that promote greater understanding of sustainable living.
The former superintendent’s house on the property will be used as a demonstration and education centre presenting food, water and energy alternatives for a sustainable future . The site will host students, tourists and other interested groups allowing them to engage first-hand in sustainable environmental initiatives applicable to their own lives.
At this time of great concern regarding food and water security, the Yorklands Green Hub vision aligns with the goals of public education, public health, sustainable urban agriculture (as outlined in the Ontario Local Food Act), and the carbon neutrality goals of Guelph’s Official Plan and provincial goals of sustainability for energy, water and food production.
WHAT WE HAVE ASKED OF INFRASTRUCTURE ONTARIO:
In October, 2013 YGH submitted an Expression of Interest to Infrastructure Ontario to request long term lease of a 70 acre parcel of the GCC which is currently designated as “adaptive reuse” and a “significant natural area” as outlined in the Guelph Innovation District plan. This access would include sole use of the superintendent’s house, and partnered use of the GCC Administration building. Our goal is to create a provincial exhibition and work site that brings forward a living history of its reform-inspired past. It will illuminate best practices of today’s environmental innovation and promotion while appreciating the site’s rich indigenous, natural and cultural heritages. In November, 2014 we were informed by Infrastructure Ontario that the GCC lands would only be disposed of through a sale of assets.
Yorklands is now planning to raise $3 million to purchase the land, the superintendent’s house, and to retrofit that building.
A collaborative cluster of organizations and businesses working together to make our shared goals become the new societal norm
A one stop shop that promotes innovative, sustainable and resilient food production, wise water use, wetland restoration, and energy conservation & alternatives
A place that fosters increased citizen engagement in building strong, safe, healthy and inclusive communities through education and recreation on the site.
An historic exhibition centre that acknowledges the stewardship of the Mississauga First Nation and reflects the groundbreaking history of early 20th century spirit of reform on this site.
WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED IN A VERY SHORT TIME FRAME:
We have developed a vision and mission with short, medium and long term goals
We have become a registered non-profit organization, and are currently applying for charitable status, while building our membership support base.
We have completed our first strategic plan and are currently finalizing our 5-year business plan with professional input
Volunteers have contributed in excess of 2,500 hours of expert time in the past year to build this project for our community and the province
We encourage public participation and make public presentations about the Yorklands Green Hub and how it can contribute to a new kind of prosperity for the city and province.
WHAT WE ARE DOING RIGHT NOW:
Our outreach team is meeting with organizations who share our goals to explore a spectrum of relationships from basic endorsement to extensive partnerships
We are continuing to build a firm volunteer base and are taking advice from experts in fields such as urban farming, hydrology, alternative energy, biodiversity, local history, indignenous culture, building, planning, education, engineering, and heritage land repurposing
We are working with funding groups and various Ontario ministries to gain their support
We are working to provide educational & demonstration opportunities for children at the elementary and high school levels on the importance of water and wetland conservation, efficient energy use, and sustainable food production and indigenous knowledge
WE ASK YOU TO HELP US MAKE THE YORKLANDS GREEN HUB ALL THAT IT CAN BE:
An economic driver, green business opportunity, educational resource, environmental exhibition centre, eco-tourism destination, community hub and a preserved heritage site.
You can help by: becoming a member http://yorklandsgreenhub.ca/become-member/
participating in the project http://yorklandsgreenhub.ca/volunteer/
donating to fund our operating costs http://yorklandsgreenhub.ca/donate/
and spreading the word by telling friends and colleagues