Grey Highlands council pleased with county climate plan

·2 min read

Members of Grey Highlands council are happy with the progress Grey County has made on its climate action plan.

Grey County Deputy CAO Randy Scherzer and Manager of Climate Change Initiatives Linda Swanson presented the Going Green in Grey climate plan at council’s meeting on June 1. The county representatives were invited to the meeting by council after the plan was recently approved.

“The importance of having an action plan has never been greater than now,” said Scherzer. “Moving forward with these actions will only be possible with collaboration.”

The plan sets an ambitious target to have the county’s operation at net-zero emissions by 2045 and the county as a whole at net zero by 2050.

Swanson explained the county consulted broadly with the public, the agricultural community and the business sector when developing the plan.

The consultations revealed 11 key findings:

The plan includes four foundational pillars: afforestation and habitat/wetland protection, compact mixed-use development, capacity building for agricultural decarbonization and expand waste and organics diversion.

“Continuing and expanding these four foundational pillars can achieve 40 per cent of our cumulative emissions reduction potential to 2050,” said Swanson

Key next steps, which can achieve 39 per cent of emissions reduction potential, include:

Coun. Cathy Little said the plan shows the way forward for the entire community.

“I think your plan and initiative provides a really clear path and distinct goals,” said Little. “It gives the lower-tier municipalities an opportunity to identify how they move forward.”

Mayor Paul McQueen asked how other municipal jurisdictions compare to Grey County’s goals.

“All levels of government have to be part of this as well as our community partners,” said McQueen, who encouraged Scherzer and Swanson to visit all lower-tier municipalities to share the plan.

Swanson said Grey County’s goals hold up in comparison to other areas.

“We compare well against our peers,” she said, noting that Toronto has a net-zero goal of 2040 and Halton Hills is at 2030. “We are well aligned with federal commitments, we are well-positioned.”

Coun. Dane Nielsen said there is more recognition of the impact climate change is having and he is happy the county is setting the bar high.

“If we don’t have ambition to move forward, we’ll fall further behind,” he said.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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