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Town and CEAC ready to engage community in climate protection

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative

Administration is ready to work with the Community Engagement Advisory Committee (CEAC) on emission reduction targets as part of the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) Program.

“I’m excited that CEAC has the opportunity to actually be tasked with something specific. I think that’s a lot of what has been lacking and I hope this is something they can kind of latch onto and actually feel purposeful,” said Coun. Dewly Nelson.

Coun. Tyler Waugh added that CEAC is open to learning more about what their role is in this project as well as what the timeline of this project looks like.

Hinton is part of the PCP Program, a network for Canadian municipal governments that have committed to reducing greenhouse gases and acting on climate change. 

The program promotes five milestones that tackle climate change, including creating a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and forecast, setting an emissions reductions target, developing a local action plan, implementing the local action plan or a set of activities, and monitoring progress and report results.

Hinton completed the first milestone of creating a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and forecast, and completed the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Maturity Scale report under the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) program requirements.

Peter Vana, Hinton’s director of development services, stated that the real community engagement piece will come into play during work of milestone 3.

“As you’re kind of going through that planning process to create your new community sustainability plan, and complete milestone three, there will be full engagement in the community and we sort of see CEAC helping to spearhead that initiative and certainly involving all members of the community,” said Vana.

The Delphi Group, an environmental consultant, assisted the Town in both completing the Maturity Scale report and the milestone 1 reporting. 

They also established corporate and community GHG emission inventories, GHG projections, and options for reducing corporate and community GHG emissions.

According to their report, the Town’s greatest corporate source, 80.5 per cent, of GHG emissions is from the landfill, followed by buildings. 

The Town’s greatest source of energy use, 59.7 per cent, is from natural gas followed by 25.8 per cent from electricity use. 

In the overall community, the highest levels of GHG emissions, 38.2 per cent, are from on-road transportation use, followed by an equal distribution among commercial and institutional, manufacturing, and residential uses. 

Over 61 per cent of the energy source at the community level comes from natural gas and 38.4 per cent from electricity. 

The Delphi Group prepared a list of potential corporate and community inventory reduction opportunities, and ranked these by priority, identifying them to prepare a potential emissions reduction target for the year 2030. 

The projections produced indicate that the Town has the potential to reduce its 2018 corporate GHG emission levels by 20 per cent, and the community GHG emissions by 6 per cent by 2030. 

To complete milestone 2, Administration will work with the CEAC committee to recommend reduction targets for the Town and the community.

Administration will present the final recommendations for emission and energy reduction targets to Council for approval. 

“The plan for completion of the milestone work is proposed to take six years. At this time, no budget has been requested but as work progresses, the milestone work itself, particularly milestone four, where implementation of the action plan begins, may require investment,” said CAO Emily Olsen.

Milestone 2 is proposed to be completed in 2021, while milestone 3 is proposed to be started in 2022 and completed in 2023. 

Milestone 4 and milestone 5 will be carried out over the following three years, subject to the recommendations from the action plan, and approval of future capital and operating budgets.

During 2018 and 2019, Hinton participated in the Energy Futures Lab (EFL) Roadshow sponsored by The Natural Step Canada and funded by FCM. 

The results from the Roadshow contributed to Hinton’s understanding of where the Town is relative to the “maturity scale” to initiate the first milestone step in the PCP program.

Nelson brought up that the Hinton Community Sustainability Plan (CSP) update was postponed in order to know what was happening with the PCP framework.

Olsen explained administration is working to complete the PCP milestone one and two prior to revisiting the CSP and that without further direction, council will see an update on the CSP once milestone 2 is complete.

Vana added this could take between two to three months.