Where is our promised climate change coordinator?

Thursday’s Energy & Environment meeting began with introductions and the election of officers; Jo-Dee Burbach will chair, and Emily Sheldon will be vice-chair. Two new members of the committee are Felicity Sutcliffe, a long-time Stratford resident involved in many local environmental organizations, and Patricia Osaka, a new arrival to Stratford, who is a lawyer, working remotely in corporate law and governance.

There was a discussion of the concentration of road salt (28:00), which will be continued in later meetings, and a call for new members of the carbon reduction group (39:00), They want to do webinars for community engagement, particularly around the Stratford action plan. If you’d like to participate, contact Emily Skelding, through the committee.

Sammie Orr reported on the Industrial, Commercial, Institutional Waste Reduction group (the ICI). The project to reduce waste by using returnable containers by the Friendlier Company is proceeding well, with eight participating restaurants. You can help by asking your favourite restaurant if they are participating. The next target will be produce bags; they would like to encourage compostable or paper bags in grocery stores, but still need to do more research. Also looking at a green star award for local businesses.

There was a flurry of questions around the proposed position of climate coordinator. The position has been discussed at many earlier meetings, with some complaints that the City has been slow to act on this issue. Councillors Burbach and Henderson seemed to be less than optimistic about the new position, citing budget problems. Councillor Henderson was not hopeful: “I don’t know if we’ll wind up getting one this year, or if it will be part time.” (48:20) This provoked quite a lively response from the committee as a whole.

Sammie Orr reminded everyone that the climate goal is for 2030, not that far away: “We can’t take another year saying that environmental action must didn’t make the cut.” Mike Sullivan added “Council has endorsed the climate action plan, which included the request for a position. How can they turn it down now?” Citizens are encouraged to write to council before the next budget meeting on January 17. Here is the link to send one email to all councillors.

Councillor Burbach mentioned a survey that will be put out by Council regarding the budget. She said it usually receives a poor response, and it would be good to have more citizens responding. If you have suggestions on how the City can better publicize surveys like this, let Council know.

Other issues:
**Mike Sullivan: floodline map and information is tabled, will be discussed at next meeting
**Sammie Orr: electric vehicle incentive by the City – needs further investigation. Charging stations: also to be reviewed.
**Stratford tree power programme will take place in early April

Geothermal heating for Rotary Complex?
Councillor Burbach has passed on a suggestion that geothermal heating could be put under the resurfaced parking lot at the Rotary Complex. She’s not sure how that would fit in with the budget and the schedule, but will check to see if anything has been done, and will report back.