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NEWS from the VILLAGE GREEN: Grey Highlands Climate Action Committee Task Force issues Climate Action Report

Grey Highlands Climate Action Plan

BY JOHN BUTLER FOR SOUTHGREY.CA — The Grey Highlands Climate Action Committee Task Force, created by Grey Highlands Council on July 3, 2019, has issued its Grey Highlands Climate Action Report.

After congratulating Grey Highlands departments for a number of climate-related and green initiatives they’ve already undertaken, the report proposes twenty priorities for the municipality:

  1. Expand broadband coverage across Grey Highlands
  2. Create an electric vehicle policy and electric charging stations plan
  3. Create a no-idle vehicle education program
  4. Explore funding opportunities intended to fund initiatives for retrofitting and providing funds for new construction of energy efficient facilities
  5. Create and implement policy feedback and evaluation tools to maintain and monitor policy direction
  6. Encourage the "wilding" of municipal properties and discourage or ban pesticides for nonagricultural purposes
  7. Explore the creation of a municipal policy to ensure that all gardening and landscapes on municipal lands use noninvasive species that are natural to Grey Highlands
  8. Implement a policy of no single use plastic bags in local stores (e.g., grocery stores).
  9. Complete a Wholesome Energy Audit of all municipally owned facilities
  10. Encourage new developments to be built with the best energy conservation and demand management technologies
  11. Include, in the Grey Highlands Official Plan, natural heritage protection to protect plant life, shoreline, and other natural features that offset the local impact of climate change
  12. Form partnerships between county and municipality to create a comprehensive plan to integrate natural heritage strategies across municipal boundaries, and collaborate with adjacent municipalities and conservation authorities to create a complete natural heritage systems linkage strategy built on recommendations from the Green to Grey study
  13. Encourage new developments to be built with the best technologies to help mitigate extreme weather events
  14. Harness solar energy on municipal buildings
  15. Make settlement areas more walk-friendly and encourage walking and active transportation (paving road shoulders for example)
  16. Support and create community gardens – for example, through use of municipal lands (the municipality is already working towards community gardens)
  17. Support relationships with groups willing to work on carbon sequestering on municipal lands.
  18. Use pavement materials that produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, based on local climate and traffic
  19. Develop an organic waste strategy, including a composting strategy, as part of the Grey Highlands Waste Management plan. A strategy should explore whether collecting organics in our mostly rural municipality would generate more greenhouse gases from transportation than additional benefits. The municipality might also explore composting at home.
  20. Find opportunities for Grey Highlands to sequester carbon (e.g. tree-planting, soil remediation and increased use of wood in facility construction) and look at what policies the municipality could create or amend, to encourage landowners to sequester carbon.

The report suggests that when Grey Highlands staff have commented on the report, the public should be invited to submit their reactions to the report and to the staff comments before Grey Highlands Council takes action on the report.

The report also says the Committee Task Force would have liked more time to examine climate opportunities with the agriculture community, and it hopes there will be future consultation with Indigenous communities.


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