At the next Committee of the Whole Meeting, Minnie de Jong, Chair of the Sustainability and Climate Change Advisory Committee (SCCAC), will make a presentation with the dramatic assertion that “We are Facing a Climate ‘Crisis'” and that the SCCAC recommends that Cobourg declare a Climate Emergency and take immediate action. The presentation will start with the Time Magazine cover from April 3, 2006 which says “Be worried, be Very Worried”. The presentation then goes on to say that we need to start aggressive action now and that if we fail, “human survival (is) at risk”. And since “municipalities have influence over approx. 50% of GHG emissions in Canada”, Council must act when managing: Land use/site planning and densities, Buildings, Local transportation, Water and wastewater service.
You can download the full presentation from the Link below but here is a summary:
Climate Crisis – Presentation Summary
‘Crisis’ means an “unprecedented crisis requiring unprecedented action”.
We can’t afford to say:
- Must wait until we have an ICSP in place (ICSP: Integrated Community Sustainability Plan)
- Until the Building Code is updated
- Must allow approvals of future developments to continue as approved or unfair to developer
The presentation then shows images of Droughts, Fires, Floods, High Winds and a European heat wave with the implication that these are all caused by Human caused Climate Change.
- Council declare a climate emergency
- Set GHG emission reduction target of minimum 60% below 2005 levels by 2030; net zero by 2050 [Other Municipalities have similar targets: Halton Hills: net zero by 2030; Burlington: net carbon neutral by 2040; Kingston: carbon neutral by 2040]
- Communicate declaration to Cobourg Community
- Develop a Green Development Standard (GDS) [Define GHG emissions in new developments]
- Develop a Community Improvement Plan (CIP) [For financial incentives for environmental sustainability]
- Ensure sufficient funds and staff for GDS and CIP
- Provide allowance for Climate Change Action Plan in 2020 budget
- Update Cobourg’s Strategic Plan
There is no mention of how progress or achievement of targets should be measured.
Note that the SCCAC brought up the subject of planning for sustainability in an earlier planning discussion about a large development on King Street East (near Brook North) called “East Village” by Stalwood Homes. (More details here)
- Recommend “an allowance in the amount of $200,000 to hire additional staff to set up climate action initiatives approved by Council”.
- Two consultants required for GDS and CIP
- Staff required to handle Tannery District CIP, and Affordable Housing CIP
- Climate Action Plan to be presented to Council Spring 2020 – after 2020 Budget is completed
- May require deferral of some planned expenditures – Kingston deferred $54M in other projects
- It may require tax increases.
Minnie’s presentation is dramatic and finishes with:
As the current decision makers for Cobourg we ask that you act now to help ensure human survival. (There are) 11,000 Scientists who declare a Climate Emergency with the statement that “We declare … clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,”
We ask that Cobourg Council do the same, and take immediate, aggressive action.
It will be interesting to see how this is received by Council.
Addendum – 25 November 2019
Response by Council at the Committee of the Whole Meeting where the above was presented.
At right is a photo of Minnie De Jong making her presentation.
The Councillor coordinator for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Adam Bureau was assigned to respond and moved a motion essentially agreeing with the Committee’s concerns but included different actions in his motion:
- That Council create a staff position on a one (1) year contract basis, under the supervision of the Chief Administrative Officer to develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Integrated Community Sustainable Plan and that includes Green Development Standards (ICSP) and manage the project through to completion.
- Refer all costs associated with the contract position and Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) to the 2020 budget deliberations and have Staff prepare a budget estimate for the January 2020 budget meeting.
- Update Council’s Strategic Plan to allow Staff to reprioritize other work commitments to ensure that staff resources will be sufficient to commence work on the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan prior to the scheduled start of 2021 as outlined in Council’s current, approved Strategic Plan.
This is one year earlier than specified by the Strategic Plan but is still not as fast as requested. However, Glenn McGlashon expressed doubt that the task could be done in time. Minnie de Jong later commented that the longer time required would no doubt be because the proposed ICSP (also called the Sustainability Plan) had a much broader scope – her comments about not being able to afford to wait were virtually ignored.
Addendum 5 December 2019
When this came to a vote at the regular Council meeting on 2 December, it was passed unanimously. See the full motion here.