Hamilton councillors approves climate change plan

News Dec 04, 2019 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton councillors had a visit from Santa Claus, were serenaded with a provocative song and video and had a balloon explode as a large number of people urged the city to accelerate the implementation of their proposed climate change plan.

Oliver Tessier, 13, of Ryerson Elementary School, accused the city of not doing enough to address climate change since councillors declared a climate change emergency in March.

“I’m asking you for help. We all are,” said Tessier, as the packed gallery applauded. “We are scared, of having clean water, not having clean energy, not having a secure future for a family.”

Don McLean of Hamilton 350, said waiting for Hamilton to craft its climate change plan — in private — without talking to stakeholders or the    public is concerning.

“Nine months to get to this point is frustrating to a lot of people,” he said.

McLean was one of the 22 people who appeared before the Dec. 4 general issues committee pleading and, in some cases, castigating the city for not doing enough to approve their climate change plan. They included Tina Di Clemente of Elders for Climate Sanity who demonstrated that by placing a flame under a balloon filled with water it doesn’t burst. It just gets hotter, revealing the effects of climate change.

And Lauren Eyton-Jones sang “panic like your house is on fire” while a video showed Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg and other unnerving climate impacts on the Earth played on the screen behind her.

The plan includes nine goals that include increasing the amount of energy efficient buildings; recycle materials from demolished buildings, while retrofitting existing buildings to meet energy-efficient guidelines; promote alternative transportation methods, expand electric vehicles stations and incorporate electric vehicles into the city’s fleet; ensure future land development supports climate change mitigation; plant more trees and establish green standards for city-owned parking facilities.

The plan also includes an extensive education program to train staff on climate initiatives, as well as inform the public about the changes that is expected to happen when the city starts incorporating climate change guidelines into its decision making.

Councillors did approve its climate change plan in a unanimous 12-0 vote but some councillors questioned the process.

Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark said the plan’s goals are more like “visions” rather than targets.

“We are talking about ethereal statements,” he said. “Not a goal.”

City manager Janette Smith said once councillors approve the plan, staff will begin hammering out specific outcomes, incorporating a climate lens to projects and programs and establish results-based targets.

“We will start focusing on work plans, time lines and target metrics,” she said.

The city has a long way to go to meet its own targets, said Clark.

Trevor Imhoff, project manager for the city’s climate change plan, acknowledged the city only recently received its first electric vehicle – a Kia 2020 – for a pilot project. The city does have up to 86 hybrid vehicles, but Hamilton doesn’t have a plug-in vehicle.

Part of the climate change plan will also include how to pay for the programs. Ward 5 Coun. Chad Collins said there are no funds allocated within the plan, for instance to install electric vehicle charging stations into new buildings.

“We have a long shopping list here of climate change related investments that need to occur, and we don’t have any resources right now to fund them,” he said.

But Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson, who has been advocating for the city to establish a climate change plan since she was elected in 2018, said residents will accept higher taxes and fees if they know where the money is going towards.

Smith said the city’s climate change plan will allow staff to look at current budget items such as parking fee increases, study the ongoing GRIDS land review process, and examine the type of vehicles the city needs to purchase. She said further details of the climate change plan will be provided to councillors early in 2020.

In the 2020 capital budget, staff has identified $202.4 million in climate change investment such as transit, building retro-fits, park development and planting 7,000 trees.

Mountain Coun. John-Paul Danko, who has encouraged council to adopt a so-called “rain tax” on properties that have parking lots, applauded the document.

He said declaring a climate emergency may have been politically difficult, but “that was the easy part. Putting the plan together is the hard part.”

Hamilton’s greenhouse gas emissions have declined since 2006 by one-third in 2017 to just over 11,569,000 tonnes of emissions. But to get to 50 per cent by 2030, it needs to eliminate an additional 3 million tonnes. The target for the city by 2050 is to be carbon neutral.

The major greenhouse gas sources are from the industrial and steel industries, which have reduced their emissions by 47.7 per cent and 33.5 per cent since 2006. But the commercial and transportation emissions have increased by five per cent and 22 per cent respectively.

The city’s major source of greenhouse gas emissions is from its vehicle fleet at 44 per cent, corporate buildings at 30 per cent and water and sewage at 11 per cent.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said Hamilton couldn’t move quickly enough to satisfy its critics to implement its climate change plan.

“This is a big undertaking,” he said. “This is going to be a dramatic shift. But we want to do it in a thorough and effective manner and get it right the first time.”

Hamilton's climate change plan will be a "dramatic shift" in how city operates

News Dec 04, 2019 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton councillors had a visit from Santa Claus, were serenaded with a provocative song and video and had a balloon explode as a large number of people urged the city to accelerate the implementation of their proposed climate change plan.

Oliver Tessier, 13, of Ryerson Elementary School, accused the city of not doing enough to address climate change since councillors declared a climate change emergency in March.

“I’m asking you for help. We all are,” said Tessier, as the packed gallery applauded. “We are scared, of having clean water, not having clean energy, not having a secure future for a family.”

Don McLean of Hamilton 350, said waiting for Hamilton to craft its climate change plan — in private — without talking to stakeholders or the    public is concerning.

“Nine months to get to this point is frustrating to a lot of people,” he said.

McLean was one of the 22 people who appeared before the Dec. 4 general issues committee pleading and, in some cases, castigating the city for not doing enough to approve their climate change plan. They included Tina Di Clemente of Elders for Climate Sanity who demonstrated that by placing a flame under a balloon filled with water it doesn’t burst. It just gets hotter, revealing the effects of climate change.

And Lauren Eyton-Jones sang “panic like your house is on fire” while a video showed Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg and other unnerving climate impacts on the Earth played on the screen behind her.

The plan includes nine goals that include increasing the amount of energy efficient buildings; recycle materials from demolished buildings, while retrofitting existing buildings to meet energy-efficient guidelines; promote alternative transportation methods, expand electric vehicles stations and incorporate electric vehicles into the city’s fleet; ensure future land development supports climate change mitigation; plant more trees and establish green standards for city-owned parking facilities.

The plan also includes an extensive education program to train staff on climate initiatives, as well as inform the public about the changes that is expected to happen when the city starts incorporating climate change guidelines into its decision making.

Councillors did approve its climate change plan in a unanimous 12-0 vote but some councillors questioned the process.

Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark said the plan’s goals are more like “visions” rather than targets.

“We are talking about ethereal statements,” he said. “Not a goal.”

City manager Janette Smith said once councillors approve the plan, staff will begin hammering out specific outcomes, incorporating a climate lens to projects and programs and establish results-based targets.

“We will start focusing on work plans, time lines and target metrics,” she said.

The city has a long way to go to meet its own targets, said Clark.

Trevor Imhoff, project manager for the city’s climate change plan, acknowledged the city only recently received its first electric vehicle – a Kia 2020 – for a pilot project. The city does have up to 86 hybrid vehicles, but Hamilton doesn’t have a plug-in vehicle.

Part of the climate change plan will also include how to pay for the programs. Ward 5 Coun. Chad Collins said there are no funds allocated within the plan, for instance to install electric vehicle charging stations into new buildings.

“We have a long shopping list here of climate change related investments that need to occur, and we don’t have any resources right now to fund them,” he said.

But Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson, who has been advocating for the city to establish a climate change plan since she was elected in 2018, said residents will accept higher taxes and fees if they know where the money is going towards.

Smith said the city’s climate change plan will allow staff to look at current budget items such as parking fee increases, study the ongoing GRIDS land review process, and examine the type of vehicles the city needs to purchase. She said further details of the climate change plan will be provided to councillors early in 2020.

In the 2020 capital budget, staff has identified $202.4 million in climate change investment such as transit, building retro-fits, park development and planting 7,000 trees.

Mountain Coun. John-Paul Danko, who has encouraged council to adopt a so-called “rain tax” on properties that have parking lots, applauded the document.

He said declaring a climate emergency may have been politically difficult, but “that was the easy part. Putting the plan together is the hard part.”

Hamilton’s greenhouse gas emissions have declined since 2006 by one-third in 2017 to just over 11,569,000 tonnes of emissions. But to get to 50 per cent by 2030, it needs to eliminate an additional 3 million tonnes. The target for the city by 2050 is to be carbon neutral.

The major greenhouse gas sources are from the industrial and steel industries, which have reduced their emissions by 47.7 per cent and 33.5 per cent since 2006. But the commercial and transportation emissions have increased by five per cent and 22 per cent respectively.

The city’s major source of greenhouse gas emissions is from its vehicle fleet at 44 per cent, corporate buildings at 30 per cent and water and sewage at 11 per cent.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said Hamilton couldn’t move quickly enough to satisfy its critics to implement its climate change plan.

“This is a big undertaking,” he said. “This is going to be a dramatic shift. But we want to do it in a thorough and effective manner and get it right the first time.”

Hamilton's climate change plan will be a "dramatic shift" in how city operates

News Dec 04, 2019 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton councillors had a visit from Santa Claus, were serenaded with a provocative song and video and had a balloon explode as a large number of people urged the city to accelerate the implementation of their proposed climate change plan.

Oliver Tessier, 13, of Ryerson Elementary School, accused the city of not doing enough to address climate change since councillors declared a climate change emergency in March.

“I’m asking you for help. We all are,” said Tessier, as the packed gallery applauded. “We are scared, of having clean water, not having clean energy, not having a secure future for a family.”

Don McLean of Hamilton 350, said waiting for Hamilton to craft its climate change plan — in private — without talking to stakeholders or the    public is concerning.

“Nine months to get to this point is frustrating to a lot of people,” he said.

McLean was one of the 22 people who appeared before the Dec. 4 general issues committee pleading and, in some cases, castigating the city for not doing enough to approve their climate change plan. They included Tina Di Clemente of Elders for Climate Sanity who demonstrated that by placing a flame under a balloon filled with water it doesn’t burst. It just gets hotter, revealing the effects of climate change.

And Lauren Eyton-Jones sang “panic like your house is on fire” while a video showed Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg and other unnerving climate impacts on the Earth played on the screen behind her.

The plan includes nine goals that include increasing the amount of energy efficient buildings; recycle materials from demolished buildings, while retrofitting existing buildings to meet energy-efficient guidelines; promote alternative transportation methods, expand electric vehicles stations and incorporate electric vehicles into the city’s fleet; ensure future land development supports climate change mitigation; plant more trees and establish green standards for city-owned parking facilities.

The plan also includes an extensive education program to train staff on climate initiatives, as well as inform the public about the changes that is expected to happen when the city starts incorporating climate change guidelines into its decision making.

Councillors did approve its climate change plan in a unanimous 12-0 vote but some councillors questioned the process.

Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark said the plan’s goals are more like “visions” rather than targets.

“We are talking about ethereal statements,” he said. “Not a goal.”

City manager Janette Smith said once councillors approve the plan, staff will begin hammering out specific outcomes, incorporating a climate lens to projects and programs and establish results-based targets.

“We will start focusing on work plans, time lines and target metrics,” she said.

The city has a long way to go to meet its own targets, said Clark.

Trevor Imhoff, project manager for the city’s climate change plan, acknowledged the city only recently received its first electric vehicle – a Kia 2020 – for a pilot project. The city does have up to 86 hybrid vehicles, but Hamilton doesn’t have a plug-in vehicle.

Part of the climate change plan will also include how to pay for the programs. Ward 5 Coun. Chad Collins said there are no funds allocated within the plan, for instance to install electric vehicle charging stations into new buildings.

“We have a long shopping list here of climate change related investments that need to occur, and we don’t have any resources right now to fund them,” he said.

But Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson, who has been advocating for the city to establish a climate change plan since she was elected in 2018, said residents will accept higher taxes and fees if they know where the money is going towards.

Smith said the city’s climate change plan will allow staff to look at current budget items such as parking fee increases, study the ongoing GRIDS land review process, and examine the type of vehicles the city needs to purchase. She said further details of the climate change plan will be provided to councillors early in 2020.

In the 2020 capital budget, staff has identified $202.4 million in climate change investment such as transit, building retro-fits, park development and planting 7,000 trees.

Mountain Coun. John-Paul Danko, who has encouraged council to adopt a so-called “rain tax” on properties that have parking lots, applauded the document.

He said declaring a climate emergency may have been politically difficult, but “that was the easy part. Putting the plan together is the hard part.”

Hamilton’s greenhouse gas emissions have declined since 2006 by one-third in 2017 to just over 11,569,000 tonnes of emissions. But to get to 50 per cent by 2030, it needs to eliminate an additional 3 million tonnes. The target for the city by 2050 is to be carbon neutral.

The major greenhouse gas sources are from the industrial and steel industries, which have reduced their emissions by 47.7 per cent and 33.5 per cent since 2006. But the commercial and transportation emissions have increased by five per cent and 22 per cent respectively.

The city’s major source of greenhouse gas emissions is from its vehicle fleet at 44 per cent, corporate buildings at 30 per cent and water and sewage at 11 per cent.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said Hamilton couldn’t move quickly enough to satisfy its critics to implement its climate change plan.

“This is a big undertaking,” he said. “This is going to be a dramatic shift. But we want to do it in a thorough and effective manner and get it right the first time.”