Environmental Sustainability is a priority for many permanent residents and students alike. What are the key sustainability initiatives the town should focus on? What strategies can be used to achieve those goals?
On September 19th, for The Plug In! Panel on Municipal Renewable Energy Innovation, I presented on this topic. It’s linked on the facebook page Re-elect Mercedes Brian. I’m on from around the 53 to 105 minute mark. I shared the importance of NSPower’s planning to Wolfville’s ability to meet the targets set by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. What’s a small municipality without an electrical utility, unable to generate our own clean power, to do? Our most ambitious plan will only meet the UN deadlines if NSPower chooses to implement their most ambitious climate change plans as well. If we act now, there is hope!
I would like to see Wolfville take the town of Bridgewater as its model. The town has set up alternative transportation within its borders, emphasized a green, self-
supportive local economy with a focus on energy management. Bridgewater has been recognized nationally for its efforts, which were led by an Acadia grad Leon de Vreede. The town has an energy poverty reduction program and a community energy investment plan.
Wolfville is in a unique position for environmental sustainability, as our area is agriculturally based which allows us to grow a lot of the food we consume on a daily basis. I would like to see more emphasis on buying locally grown food and goods produced by local farms,businesses and companies. I think we should also consult more with experts who have vast backgrounds and training in environmental and sustainable living as well as companies with technologies that can help us cut back on our dependence on fossil fuels for heating and electricity use within our town.
One of the reasons transportation is a key area of focus for me is because of its connection to environmental sustainability and a broader move away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy. The Town needs to demonstrate its commitment to clean energy with its own public vehicles and work with our provincial and federal partners to streamline information sharing regarding alternative fuel and power options.
I think the overarching priority here is to, while making other decisions on developments and the like, remember that the Town has declared a climate emergency. What this means, in my opinion, is that absolutely any other project, initiative, building, etc. needs to have sustainability at the forefront. Which, in a lot of examples will mean added cost; but, as they say “put your money where your mouth is”!
I am so passionate about healthy living and working environments and I can't wait, if elected, to be a part of those committees that are actively making Wolfville a more sustainable town. A lot of businesses, farms, residential properties have moved to solar panels which is awesome and I think we can do more education on waste management and other methods of energy to get everyone on the same page. Our parks are beautiful as is the walking trail and I feel more promotion needs to be in place for these places to cut down on folks wanted to drive all the time. An open dialouge between students and energy-educated residents needs to be in place too... combined forces to do as much as we can!
Over the past couple of years, Wolfville has taken great strides to address the worsening climate crisis, but we need to build on that progress. We should work to make electric vehicle charging stations more widely available, to help make it more accessible for people who want to decrease their reliance on fossil fuels. We should also work to establish a fund to help residents with energy-efficient home retrofits. We can and should push forward to aggressively confront climate change. In the face of all the uncertainty, now is the time for Wolfville to lead on this issue.
The Town is continuing to upgrade its infrastructure – solar panels and water and sewer plant upgrades to name a few. A PACE plan is being implemented, and Active Transportation routes are seeing regular improvement.
What’s crucial for me is having our Climate Mitigation staff person being funded into the future. The science, data and initiatives of sustainability change consistently. Having someone who can dedicate their time to this, while also informing council, is essential to the forward thinking and planning for our town.
Climate change is not just an environmental issue; it is also an economic and social issue. It affects distinct segments of the population in disparate ways. To make sustainability initiatives more affordable, the town should collaborate with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to deliver a financing program, so that efficiency upgrades and renewable energy are more accessible to homeowners. As well, the town should partner with the provincial government to raise awareness about and deliver programs available to residents, landlords and businesses. Finally, Wolfville should promote ecotourism as well as introduce practical and economical public and alternative transportation options.
Nicholas Ken Jin Tan
Environmental Sustainability is a priority. We are lucky to live in a town that cares about this. In Wolfville, we have an Environmental Sustainability Commitee and are currently undertaking a project to upgrade our wastewater treatment to be more sustainable. This is not enough. Climate change and environmental sustainability is a global problem and the fight of our time. We all must do our part to be more efficient and less wasteful because it is not yet too late.