/Council waits for numbers before setting climate change targets

Council waits for numbers before setting climate change targets

Members of Minden Hills council said they were eager to set emissions targets for the township but wanted to wait until more complete population growth numbers were available before doing so.

Korey McKay the county’s climate change co-ordinator and Craig Douglas the county’s public works director made a delegation to council at its committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 13 about the emissions the township has direct control over.

According to their information the Township of Minden Hills has an equivalent of 4253 tonnes of CO 2 a year about the same as 903 vehicles driven a year or the energy use of 509 homes in a year.

About 81 per cent of those emissions come from the waste sector 12 per cent from fleet six per cent from buildings and less than one per cent from water and sewage.

McKay’s suggestion was that the township set a target of 20 per cent reduction from the 2018 baseline in the building sector; 10 per cent in fleet; and 10 per cent in waste by 2030.

Councillors’ feedback was supportive of setting targets but those who spoke were concerned that the targets weren’t ambitious enough or that the assumptions behind the numbers were underplaying potential greenhouse gas emissions.

Councillor Bob Carter questioned how McKay had projected population growth between 2018 and 2030.

“You have an assumption of population growth of 15.8 per cent which is compound growth of about one-and-a-quarter per cent. In the last census our growth rate was between six and eight per cent. I’m trying to square that number” he said.

McKay said the rate had come from the county’s official plan.

Councillor Pam Sayne said she was less concerned about the population growth as she was about focusing on emissions themselves. She said she wanted to see more training of staff on how to measure the emissions their departments were responsible for.

Coaching was part of the impetus behind the county hiring a climate change co-ordinator Mayor Brent Devolin said and indicated that McKay’s role would include bringing both staff and councillors up to speed on climate change mitigation.

Devolin echoed Carter’s request for more specific population growth information and said if that meant Minden Hills took longer than the county’s other lower-tier municipalities that would be OK.

“What this is saying if data says we have to lean into this harder and more aggressively I think philosophically as a council we’re probably prepared to do that” he said.