TBM staff working on measures to reduce municipal greenhouse gas emissions

The Town of The Blue Mountains (TBM) staff proposed a number of measures to reduce the town’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), following up on council’s declaration of a climate emergency in 2019.

In a presentation to the Sustainability Advisory Committee Dec. 15, staff highlighted the town’s current progress in addressing climate change and suggested four areas in which the town might choose to act, as follows:

Between 2005 and 2018, TBM GHG emissions were reduced by 36.5 per cent, with a target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The top contributors to the town’s 2018 emissions included municipal buildings, its fleet of vehicles, and water and wastewater services.

The TBM fleet accounted for 55.9 per cent of all 2018 GHG emissions in TBM, and is the only emissions category to have surpassed its 2005 levels.

“Everyone recognizes that there’s a lot of need for doing things differently than we have been, and there’s an urgency to get going on action,” said manager of sustainability and solid waste Jeff Fletcher. “Even in the climate emergency [declaration], many topic areas were identified, but there wasn’t really any specific direction.”

The report brought to the committee consisted of objectives that TBM would implement at the corporate level, and committee members suggested expanding the report to include measures that could be implemented municipality-wide.

“I think it’s fantastic that you want to develop a policy for net-zero municipal buildings,” said committee co-chair Kim Harris. “But what about making a really bold move and making that policy includes all new buildings, housing, restaurants, whatever’s being built?”

“I would encourage you to look … within whatever your key recommendations are … [and] where possible [collaborate] with non-municipal entities, particularly on things like waste management,” said committee member Andrew Siegwart. “I think there’s an opportunity to co-create and do some of this together where you could get better outcomes.”

Fletcher argued that the town should take care of its corporate emissions prior to mandating change municipality-wide.

“I view this as the municipality getting our house in order,” he said. “We’ll get very much bogged down in an entire community effort, where we’re a bit more agile if we just stick to a municipal effort at this point.”

“These are the steps that I believe are necessary for us to move these things along.”

Due to time constraints at the committee meeting, the issue will be brought back for committee discussion in January, where recommendations for council will be made.

The staff report outlining the town’s GHG reductions and proposed plans may be found here.

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