Public awareness is a key climate action component: Mono council

November 23, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Some of the climate targets hoped to be met by the Town of Mono for 2030 are not very realistic.

But beefing up public education about climate change and what can be done to slow it down might be beneficial toward achieving some of the goals.

Councillor Ralph Manktelow said during the Nov. 14 council meeting that the Mono Community Climate Action Plan 2023 report card came up short of some information.

“This is well-written, and it’s well thought out,” he said. “I would like to see more detail coming to council because we really don’t know what ‘in progress’ or ‘ongoing’ means.

“It just not enough information about the subject.”

He said more details would give council an opportunity to weigh in on the subject.

One of the priority action items highlighted in the action plan was increasing knowledge and public awareness of environmental protection and climate change.

“I see that as one of the things that we can do that would be of significance,” Manktelow said. “How we go ahead with increasing knowledge and public awareness is really important. I think we can have some innovative approaches to that.”

We’re at a stage now “where the horse is out of the barn,” he said, and climate targets set for 2030 are unrealistic.

“We’re not going to come close to reaching it,” he said. “Maybe 25 per cent of it [the target].”

According to the report card, the Mono Climate Action Team (MCAT) will continue advancing 2024 local climate priorities in alignment with the town’s three themes: environment, economy, and equity.

“I think that if we were to provide the people with knowledge about some of the things that can make a significant difference, then they will be in a better position to make some decisions about it,” he said.

MCAT is in the early stages of taking over the town’s long-standing Heritage Tree and Seedling Program from the Public Works Department. Since the program started in 1999, about 245,000 seedlings have been given to participating residents. The goal is to reach 300,000 by 2030.

In 2024, MCAT will also further the previous work of the Forests Committee in identifying all town-owned land available for forest regeneration.

Some other areas of focus are conserving potable drinking water, local environmental educational events, and continuing the protection of built infrastructure as well as local natural assets.

Manktelow suggested the municipality promote the installation of solar panels, the use of electric vehicles, and the improvement of home heating through such ways as geothermal heating.

“Home heating is about 23 per cent, I think, of our emissions,” he said.

Michael Dunmore, the town’s CAO, said Manktelow’s suggestions are good public outreach topics.

“One of the biggest outreaches that we accomplished was the creation of the website,” Dunmore said. “Council is well aware that we’re working within the capacities that are available to us.

“This was an offshoot committee to begin with that was not necessarily a separate department. So we’re working within our capacities to do the best as we can.”

Deputy Mayor Fred Nix said he believes the report card is “aspirational.” And the town needs to be careful about duplicating initiatives on which other levels of government are focusing.

For instance, he said, one of the future action items is to develop standards and draft policy updates as required through a climate lens.

“The county has just done that,” Nix said and urged the town to not start from scratch on some of the initiatives. “Take what the county has done and see if we just can’t adopt it.”

Regarding the committee’s work with Dufferin County on bylaws, Dunmore said: “The council’s understanding of the words ‘in progress’ may seem vague, but these are items that we’re keeping track of. If the county has something that’s been created through our meetings … those will be transferred to us.”

He said there won’t be any duplicating as such.

“We just don’t have the capacity to create these documents, and I’m pretty sure the county has a large staff in their climate change group,” Dunmore said.

Coun. Melinda Davie said she read the agenda items as the report card that it is.

“Going forward, when you bring the next report card, maybe just attach the plan to the document so that our memories get refreshed, I guess, on what’s happening and how things are going,” she said.

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