MINDEMOYA—At its June 10 regular council meeting, the Municipality of Central Manitoulin accepted the Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) document that was submitted on May 28. The plan is the culmination of two years of work that began with the development of a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory for corporate and community emissions. The overarching goal is to build a more resilient and net-zero community by 2050 and set a pathway for 50 percent energy and GHG emission reductions by 2030.

The project included municipal, climate action committee and community engagement initiatives and research on local government climate change mitigation and adaptation best practices. More than 300 community members participated by attending events and committee meetings and participating in a community wide online survey on climate change. The project was funded with a two-year staff grant from the Government of Canada, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Municipal Energy Program (MEP) through Ontario’s Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines that was shared with Billings Township.

By approving the final CEEP, the municipality will remain a member of the Pan-Canadian Partners in Climate Protection (PCP) program, a program that is jointly operated by FCM and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. This also moves Central Manitoulin into the final milestone stage of the PCP program, implementation and monitoring.

The municipality’s climate action vision will mitigate impacts of climate change on the community by taking actions “to protect, restore and enhance natural systems, reduce agricultural/tourism emissions, protect people and property from natural hazards and promote sustainability best practices for all local businesses with a focus on enhancing support for the agricultural, forestry and tourism sectors.”

Areas addressed by the plan include shared natural spaces, new and existing municipal buildings, transportation and waste. Actions will “increase energy efficiency and the adoption o f renewal energy/low carbon technologies to build climate resilience into new and existing buildings; reduce vehicle trips, promote active and public transportation and accelerate low carbon/GHG transportation options; and reduce overall consumption by promoting circular economy concepts and increase waste diversion through recycling rate increases and a home composting program.”

The GHG inventory was drafted by original climate change co-ordinator Kristen Koetsier and finalized by Kim Neale, who oversaw the development of the CEEP in collaboration with Climate Action Committee (CAC) members. The CAC was comprised of three municipal council representatives including councillors Dale Scott (co-chair) and Al Tribinevicius and Mayor Richard Stephens. Community representatives included Cori Davy (co-chair), Katie Gilchrist and Mike Wilton.

In a message from the CAC on behalf of council, Mr. Scott and Ms. Davy wrote, “We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Manitoulin Island. Our daily actions and behaviours have an impact on the amount of carbon and GHG emissions the Municipality of Central Manitoulin collectively releases. To do our part in reducing GHGs by 50 percent by 2030, we have developed a … plan for climate action using community engagement to outline solutions and next steps we can all take. The plan is only the beginning as we now look to community members to support and help us.” They encourage all community members to begin taking small actions to reach municipal climate targets and preserve the Island for future generations to discover and enjoy.