Dysart et al council is moving ahead with a climate change mitigation plan, but a councillor expressed the need for more urgent action on the topic.
Council approved the plan Aug. 25, presented by County climate change coordinator Korey McKay as part of a larger County plan. Based on council direction, the municipality will attempt to reduce its 2018 corporate emissions levels by 20 per cent for buildings, 10 per cent for fleet and 80 per cent for waste by 2030.
“It outlines potential opportunities that can be taken to reduce the municipality’s carbon footprint,” McKay said. “Exploring and suggesting best practices.”
That includes improving energy efficiency at municipal facilities, reducing fuel consumption and transitioning to lowemission vehicles, and reducing and diverting organic waste from landfills. A joint municipal climate change working group will strive to implement the plan across the County.
Coun. John Smith said the municipality should tackle organic waste quickly. He noted most of the waste emissions reduction will be driven by landfills closing and waste being carried elsewhere, making the 80 per cent figure misleading.
He said despite Dysart’s efforts to encourage more composting, the amount of organic waste commercial establishments produce still needs to be addressed.
“Some in the community are anxious to see more action at a little faster pace,” Smith said. “The amount of organic waste that shows up at our landfill sites is frankly remarkable.”
McKay responded that the working group will address that, and council can make it a priority.
Mayor Andrea Roberts said she would see about getting that on the agenda at the next committee of the whole meeting Sept. 8. She said approving the plan itself and follow-up work were separate topics.
Smith said the environment and climate change committee – which he chaired – was already exploring the issue before Dysart shifted to a committee of the whole structure, which has not met since the pandemic began.
He emphasized the need for the matter to be on the agenda.
“There are so many practical things that could be done that we don’t talk about, we don’t promote, we don’t get staff engaging in driving these things,” Smith said. “It’s extremely frustrating to people in the community who care deeply.”