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District of Muskoka adopts new Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan
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District of Muskoka adopts new Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan

Posted: 2024-04-16 07:23:03 By: thebay

The District of Muskoka adopted their new Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan (CEERP), in the April 15, 2024, Council meeting.

According to the District’s Backgrounder, the plan will act as a guide to assist with greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction goals.

It adds, “Achieving goals will require collective and inspired action from everyone.”

Steps will include efforts toward climate change mitigation in communities and be in line with decisions the District and lower-tier municipalities made in December 2020, to reduce GHG emissions “by 50% by 2030 and net zero by 2050.”

In 2023 a task force was established that includes members and partners within the community to decide on a plan to assist with moving forward toward achieving the District’s goals.

The plan was introduced in the March 21 Community and Planning Services Committee and is now ready to be introduced to the community so that implementation can begin.

The Backgrounder continues that key areas of focus include:

  • 74% of GHG emissions come from this area. The plan focuses on using alternatives such as electric vehicles, public transit, and active transportation as options for reducing fossil fuels.
  • 20% of the area’s emissions. Goals include energy efficient retrofit programs and implementing renewable energy sources to decrease the carbon footprint from infrastructure.
  • Community systems. Focuses will include waste reduction, sustainable tourism, education, and community design, to support greater resiliency and “a more environmentally friendly community.”

A primary focus will be how the District implements municipal programs, services, and infrastructure.

Implementation will include community collaboration, education, outreach, and innovative financing, including strategic investments, and ongoing evaluation and adoption of the plan.

Financial implications will be forecasted in late spring or early summer, prior to the 2025-26 Budget, including a new Climate Reserve Fund.

Staff will begin forecasting work to align with the upcoming budget process.

Councillor, Nancy Allcock, expressed high regards for the new plan that was initially endorsed by the Planning Committee last month. She said, “The beauty of it is that it’s a living document and we can revisit it as we go along.”

She recommended that staff conduct workshops for local organizations and other opportunities to discuss and co-ordinate projects, including annual reporting, provincial and federal grant incentives, and communications with the public.

Councillor, Don Smith, said, “It really is I think a very important document and sets out some ways we can realize our targets and goals.”