On Monday night, I will bring a motion to Council on behalf of the Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee. Here’s a copy of the report to Council, recommending roof top gardens for urban farming. Have a look!

Green roofs are becoming commonplace in the urban environment. Green roofs optimize water collection and retention of hot and cool air within the building to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Green roof technology is usually found in two varieties: extensive and intensive. An extensive green roof is the most common form, which covers a large mass of the roof surface with vegetation. An intensive roof tends to be concentrated in a portion of the roof surface. These rooftop gardens have a thicker, heavier base of soil to allow for a greater variety of vegetation, including vegetables.

Many Canadian communities have recognized the benefit of green roofs and have introduced policy and regulation to encourage their use. Port Coqutilam and Richmond introduced green roof bylaws in 2008. The city of Toronto approved a bylaw in May 2009, which mandates green roofs on residential and industrial buildings.

The ability to grow vegetables on the roof of a multi-family residential or commercial building can provide condominium or townhouse residents without a yard the opportunity to grow their own fresh produce. Rooftop gardens also offer social benefits by giving residents a community place in the urban environment that often lacks greenspace.

Including rooftop gardens in multi-family residential and commercial development permit guidelines can provide guidance to development project proponents as part of the suite of possible amenities for consideration.

The Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee recommends that Council direct staff to review options to include rooftop gardens as part of the development permit guidelines for multi-family residential and commercial development, and report the findings and recommendations to the Committee and Council.

Dean Murdock
Saanich Councillor and
Chair, Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee