Care about climate change? Here’s what we know about the City’s action plan for 2021

A detailed look at the draft budget’s proposed contributions towards climate change

The draft 2021 budget makes several commitments towards action on climate change and specifically towards achieving the goals laid out in the Greater Peterborough Climate Change Action Plan.

We’ve rounded up the relevant projects for you to check out below, as well as more information on what benchmarks the City uses to measure its climate change response.

Prefer to listen rather than read? Ayesha Barmania discussed climate change and the budget with Michael Papadacos on the most recent episode of the Budget Week podcast. Press play below.

The climate change action plan and the municipal budget: interview with Michael Papadacos

00:00 / 00:23:10

Climate change reserve fund

$426,000 contribution for the climate change reserve fund in 2021

The climate change reserve fund was established by city council in February of this year during the budget process for 2020. Council approved a $426,000 contribution to the reserve last year, and the 2021 draft budget recommends making the same contribution in 2021.

The climate change reserve is intended to fund projects that help the Peterborough community reach the goals laid out in the Climate Change Action Plan. In this year’s draft budget, we’re also getting a glimpse of how the money in the climate change reserve might be used in 2021. Possible projects include an alternative fuel study for Peterborough Transit and the purchase of electric vehicle charging stations for City-owned vehicles.

Projects proposed for climate change reserve funding

$150,000 for projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the community

The Climate Change Action Plan sets out two overarching goals for the City of Peterborough. The first is reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2031 from the 2011 benchmark figures – which the plan calls climate mitigation. And the second is adapting city programs and infrastructure to handle the impacts of climate change, which chiefly means adapting to extreme weather events.

The plan sets out two programs for approaching climate mitigation: one for reducing emissions within the City’s operations and the other for reducing emissions in the community. 

According to Michael Papadacos, head of the infrastructure management division at the City of Peterborough, the $150,000 set aside in the Climate Change Action Plan budget line is intended to seed fund projects that contribute towards the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the community.

The draft budget envisions $1.5 million for these kinds of projects over the next 10 years.

$65,000 for sustainability projects in 2021

In a separate budget line, the draft budget sets aside $65,000 in spending for sustainability projects aimed within the City’s corporate services in 2021, and $585,000 over the next ten years. In an interview for the Budget Week podcast, Papadacos said the budget has this funding set aside for a project to install electric vehicle charging stations at City-owned facilities.

”We’ve made an application to the Natural Resources Canada… to get 50% of the funding, so we can install the dual charging stations at various City facilities,” he says. “The idea is they’d be owned by the City, we would then have them at our facilities, and then we can use them for charging any electric vehicles that we procure in the coming years.”

These sustainability projects represent an investment in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions within City operations, he says.

Funding for a full-time climate change coordinator position proposed 

The 2021 draft budget also proposes that the climate change reserve pay for the City’s contract climate change coordinator position to become a permanent full-time position.

$250,000 in spending on the alternative fuel study for Peterborough Transit in 2021

And the last budget line drawing funds from the climate change reserve is $250,000 drafted to be spent in 2021 on the alternative fuel study for Peterborough Transit. This study proposes to look at the implications of transitioning the bus fleet off of fossil fuels.

Other climate change spending

Papadacos notes that the goals of the climate change action plan cut across all of the City of Peterborough’s operations and there are investments being proposed throughout the 2021 budget that contribute towards these goals. “You can think of the climate change [action plan] reserve as bonus funding on top of a host of investments in climate action that are already being made. “

In addition to the projects being funded through the climate change reserve, Papadacos points to other projects, including “the source separated organics program, decorative streetlight LED conversion, watershed plan, urban forest strategic plan, emerald ash borer program, flood reduction master plan projects, investments in transit, plus a variety of building upgrades at municipal facilities that replace aging equipment with higher efficiency equipment,” among others, contribute towards the goals of climate mitigation and adaptation.


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