Town of Wolfville Taking Climate Change Initiatives to the Next Level

Town of Wolfville Taking Climate Change Initiatives to the Next Level
Submitted

Last November, Wolfville’s mayor and council voted unanimously to “take a position against the further development of fossil fuel resources in the region,” and to support “no further fossil fuel development in NS.” This important decision has led the Town of Wolfville to take climate change mitigation initiatives to the next level by with the addition of a new energy and climate change staff position, regional work with other municipalities, a local energy reduction campaign, and partnerships to support solar power and electric vehicle charging stations.

Funding for the new climate change staff position is provided through the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP) delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and funded by the Government of Canada. Wolfville was the only town in Atlantic Canada to receive funding through MCIP, along with 57 other municipalities/towns in other parts of Canada.

For Mayor Jeff Cantwell, “this is great news and will enable us to take some practical steps forward. We want to boost the culture shift needed within the Town to bring us all along together on climate change. Having extra resources, both human and financial, is a great and very positive way to start 2019.”

Director of Planning & Development Devin Lake is close to completing the process to hire for the new staff position. “The sooner we can get the new person onboard,” he says, “the quicker we can begin to lead by example with climate change initiatives. This is an exciting time for the Town.”

Once hired, the new Climate Change and Energy Coordinator will focus on developing the greenhouse gas emissions reductions plan, building on the Town’s position in the Partners for Climate Protection Program, working with municipalities across the province as part of ‘Transition 2050’ in partnership with the Clean Foundation, and moving forward with the Inspire Wolfville campaign.

Transition 2050 is a project to create emissions reductions through peer learning, strategic planning, and operational implementation on a regional scale. Participants build a network sharing similar challenges and solutions in addressing existing carbon reduction barriers. By participating in this initiative, municipalities can leverage lessons learned from municipalities facing similar challenges.

Inspire Wolfville is a series of community‐focused climate and energy initiatives that include marketing and promotions to increase residents’ engagement towards a sustainable future in the Town.

Wolfville is also approved for the Solar Electricity for Community Buildings Program, which will see the Town of Wolfville invest in a 45 kilowatt solar electrical system install on the Public Works building, making it the largest solar electrical system in the Town of Wolfville.

Additionally, in the 2019/20 operating budget, council has committed $350,000 to invest in shoreline protection and $100,000 over the next two years for flood risk mitigation. Council recognizes the urgent need to plan and invest for the future.

The Town of Wolfville is proud of the partnerships it has developed so far to support climate change and energy planning work. Acadia University continues to be a strong community partner and it is a significant opportunity for the Town to be working with the university on the creation of an electric vehicle charging station (level 3).

Mayor Cantwell commented that “Partnerships are the key to moving forward with successful climate change initiatives including the key partnership between the Town and our residents.”