Friday, May 30, 2008

FCM 2008, Day One - GMF & Sustainability Session

The first session I attended was on FCM's Green Municipal Fund and Sustainable Community Plans. This is obviously a hot topic as it was a packed room!

Other GP delegates attending the session were; Gladys Blackmore, Elroy Diemert, Dan Wong, Yad Minhas, Lorne Radbourne and Greg Scerbak (Director of Community Development)

Some of the key points I was able to catch from the presentations:

Green Municipal Fund (GMF) is a $500 million pot of funds provided by the Federal Government and administered through FCM.

GMF Grants are available for financing up to 50% (up to a maximum of $350 000!) of the cost of a project like developing a municipal Sustainability Plan. Some other examples of how municipalities have use the GMF grants:

• Sherbrook used a grant to help optimize their transit system.
• Laval, received $40 000 to develop an inventory of their Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

Mayor, Alan DeSousa from Saint-Laurent Borough, Montréal
spoke on the experience of developing a MSP of the island of Monteal....

"Many plans have been developed over the past 10 years but there have been little action." Key is to actually implement the plan. Doing a MSP is like building a house, you must; "Build a foundation before you can put the walls and the roof over."Community engagement was key in the development of the plan.

In first phase of the plan (2005 - 06) there were 24 specific actions that were identified in the plan and then in the second phase (2007 - 09) they have an additional 36 actions.

Asked community partners to publicly endorse the plan and commit to implementing at least 5 of the actions identified in the plan.

They first started with 49 community partners and are now up to 120 who have endorsed the plan and committed to meeting at least 5 of the 24 or 36 actions identified in the plan.

Councillor, Karen Leibovici, City of Edmonton

Edmonton council developed a City Vision looking forward 30 Years and then the work was in "back-casting" the actions that would lead to the realization of the vision.

Emdonton, like Grande Prairie, has a variety of "Master Plans" that govern how specific service are delivered or how the municipality develops. One of the outcomes of their work and visioning is that Plans like Transit Master Plan and Municipal Development Plan are being done in unison to ensure that they are integrated and both leading towards the vision.

In addition to the traditional Master Plans Edmonton also has a "Enviomental Strategic Plan" which I think is a great way to ensure that environmental initiates have a home and are approached in a coordinated manner.

First off the City of Edmonton committed to leading the way through their municipal operations. For example they; demanded a LEEDs Silver standard for all new municipal buildings, are testing 6 new hybrid buses, have converted 900+ traffic signal lights to LEDs, are working on a Sustainable Fleet Strategy and have funded a$30 million Energy Management Revolving Fund. ( ? - I'll need to do a little research on exactly what that is... )

They also developed what they call the " CO2RE Team" with community partners. Once again; "Partnerships were developed at the front end of the process."

The CO2RE team developed GHG reduction targets of 6% by 2010 and 20% 2020. Karen acknowledged that the recent growth in Edmonton is forcing them to review these targets to see how they can still be met.

A couple other initiates that have come from the CO2RE team;
• Home$avers how-to booklets, that are available in hard copy and on the web
• Home Depot partnership to promoting sales of energy efficient items
• Epcor $50 rebate on 6L low-flow toilets

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