The County of Haliburton revealed the steps it will take to create a new municipal climate change plan March 27.

Staff presented a report on the plan at a county planning committee meeting. The plan would detail how the municipality would mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The report recommends the plan be built and implemented in phases.

The committee said it was supportive of the plan and voted to recommend council direct staff to create a project scope document and timeline.

“It’s pragmatic, strategic, step-by-step,” Coun. Brent Devolin said. “It appears not to try to get the cart ahead of the horse, so I’m supportive of it.”

The report said it will include vision and actions for a 10-year period, to be revisited every five years.

It proposes the municipality develop three different plans towards an overarching climate change plan. First, municipalities will outline how to mitigate the impact their services have on the climate and environment. Second, municipalities will create measures to adapt to climate change while reducing the impact of services. Finally, the county will create a plan to guide and educate businesses as well as residents about climate change in the municipality.

“What we found is we’re biting off a big chunk here,” director of public works Craig Douglas said. “Break it down to pieces, you’ll see success sooner.”

Coun. Carol Moffatt said as the project moves forward, it would be important to ensure what is being done is “achievable and sustainable.”

“There are some that would believe that we should just do something. Do it today.” Moffatt said. “There are certain limitations within our operational world that prevent us from doing everything today.”

Warden Liz Danielsen said she looks forward to receiving positive input in the community.

But she also expressed concern about community discussion over civil disobedience with respect to climate change action.

“I was a little bit horrified,” Danielsen said. “That’s no way for us to solve this.”

Environment Haliburton had a meeting March 12 which explored civil disobedience tactics employed elsewhere to encourage action on the issue.

Staff plan to talk to the lower-tier municipalities seeking resolutions of support for the project in May. Once the scope of the project is finalized, staff recommend hiring a climate change co-ordinator in the fall. This year’s budget has $40,000 for the initiative, with $125,000 proposed for the 2020 budget.

“I’m really happy to see that this is finally coming forward, that we’re taking action on it,” Danielsen said.

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