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HomeNewsDistrict CPS committee approves carbon emissions plan 

District CPS committee approves carbon emissions plan 

The District of Muskoka has outlined its plan to curb carbon emissions. 

On Thursday, the district’s Community and Planning Services committee gave the thumbs up to a municipal Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan (CEERP). The plan still needs final approval from District Council next month. 

Consultants ICLEI and LURA, who helped create the plan, advised focusing on three key areas: transportation, buildings, and community systems.  

Recommendations include promoting low emission vehicles, public transit, and active transportation; programs to support energy-efficient retrofits and renewable energy for infrastructure; reducing waste, and making other practices more sustainable. 

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According to the staff report, transportation accounts for 74 per cent of the district’s emissions, with roughly four per cent of that coming from “off-road” vehicles such as boats. Buildings account for another 20 per cent. 

The consultants also outlined the local impacts of climate change by 2050, which included the annual temperature going up by 2.2 degrees Celsius, a “significant increase” in the number of days above 30 degrees, and more frequent extreme weather events. 

District Chair Jeff Lehman told committee communication with the public will be key in making this plan work. He said one thing that will send a strong message is getting the distribution and transportation companies the district works with to “make the switch” to greener practices. 

“If the district is going to lead, use our convening power as a regional municipality, bring the community together behind this incredibly important collective action: it is our communication ability that will determine the success of that,” said Lehman. 

Lehman also thanked district staffers and the consultants for their leadership around the plan, noting several community organizations, businesses, and local schools contributed to the process. 

“As you read the plan and you look at the list of organizations that participated—the cross-section of the community—it is very, very clear how strongly people in Muskoka feel about this issue, how many people are participating in developing this,” says Lehman. 

Committee also directed staff to look at options on promoting the use of heat pumps and potentially funding related projects. That came after presentations from Climate Action Muskoka, and from a Muskoka Lakes resident who says the township mandated him to install baseboard heaters on his home mid-construction. 

You can read more about the plan at the district’s website. 

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