Ontario Construction News staff writer
Sault Ste. Marie’s Community Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan 2020 – 2030 was approved by council in December.
“The plan represents a significant step forward for the city and lays the foundation for further emissions reduction efforts in the future,” said Emily Cormier, climate change coordinator with FutureSSM.
Potential resources to pay for climate initiative projects include:
- $10 billion Canadian Infrastructure Bank Growth Plan ($1.5 billion for zero emission buses; $2.5 billion for clean power; and, $2 billion for energy efficient building retrofits)
- $3.3 billion Federal Government COVID-19 Resilience Funding
- Enbridge & IESO Residential and Commercial Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs
- FCM Green Municipal Fund (Has spent $862 million on municipal green projects)
- $300 million FCM Community Efficiency Financing Initiative (residential retrofits)
“It builds on and provides direction for existing City policies that consider environmental sustainability. It also recognizes the shared responsibility for making emissions reductions by both municipal operations and the community. The plan reinforces the need for an integrated sustainability agenda that addresses long term economic, social and environmental priorities, as part of building a healthier and more climate change resilient community.”
Sault Ste. Marie’s goal for greenhouse gas reduction is net zero by 2050. To achieve this goal, the city will take a staggered approach and focus on a greenhouse gas reduction target of 10 per cent municipal and 5 per cent community between 2020 – 2030, with an increasing scale of reduction target between 2030 and 2050.
Potential barriers to meeting the goal were also presented:
- Limited resources focused on sustainability
- High capital costs of energy efficiency projects
- Limited density and heavy reliance on personal vehicle use
As identified in the Partners for Climate Protection 5-milestone framework, the city is currently working towards implementation and will monitor progress and report on results. In addition, the newly established Environmental Sustainability Committee, will oversee the review and implementation of the plan.
“The plan should be viewed as a living document and it is recommended that it be revised regularly to acknowledge changing technology, funding and legislative initiatives,” Cormier said.