Grey Highlands is taking action when it comes to climate.
The Grey Highlands Climate Action Group (GHCAG) congratulated Council for including in its 2023 draft budget enough dollars to begin fulfilling its climate promises. They conveyed their thanks at the Budget Town Hall on February 16th.
Grey Highlands’ Council declared a climate crisis in June 2019 and, soon after, committed itself to a program to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. However, up to the present they had not set aside sufficient resources to fund the commitment. Now, in its 2023 draft budget, money has been set aside to add to a 2022 unused allocation, creating a total of $50,000. “This amount should be sufficient to get started on the program,” says Joyce Hall, Convener of GHCAG. “Without funding, promises are empty.”
The program, “Partners for Climate Protection” (PCP), will take the corporation of Grey Highlands through five milestones to reduce their emissions. The PCP has been adopted by over 500 Canadian municipalities and works by measuring current levels of emissions, setting reduction targets, and establishing an integrated plan to reach the targets. “Going forward, Council will need to calculate their budget allocations over the longer term to complete the PCP and meet substantial reduction goals,” says Hall.
Neighbouring Georgian Bluffs has made progress by hiring an internationally recognized team of consultants. Their approach was to stipulate $50,000 per year for three years, and that dedicated stream has financed their municipal PCP well into Milestone three.
The group also thanked Council for the survey, now posted on the municipal website, regarding its Climate Action Plan. In particular, they were pleased to note the question, Would you be supportive of a dedicated reserve to support climate initiatives? According to Hall, the question is a “no-brainer.” The GHCAG encourages residents of Grey Highlands to take part in the survey at www.greyhighlands.ca.
GHCAG works with other bodies, such as the Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign, to urge other levels of government to provide an income stream to municipalities. “Over 50% of emissions are under the direct control of the municipal level of government. How can the Federal government hope to achieve its target of net zero emissions by 2050 without supporting the municipal level?” says Hall.