FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MUSKOKA – On Monday, December 21, the darkest day of 2020, Muskoka District Council brought light, hope, and the best Christmas present ever to the people of Muskoka, unanimously passing A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy to address the Climate Crisis, with a goal of ensuring a safe, just and healthy future.
“This strategy names the Climate Crisis as an emergency, requiring immediate action,” said Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) spokesperson, Melinda Zytaruk, in support of the proposal. “It brings strong policy leadership and firm targets which put climate action at the fore-front of all decision-making.”
She stated that A New Leaf also provides for strong partnership between the community and the District, and praised the work of Kevin Boyle, Climate Initiatives Coordinator and his team.
Zytaruk urged the District to make immediate policy changes in 2021 requiring decarbonization of all new builds in Muskoka and retro-fitting of existing buildings, conversion of the District fleet to electric with provision of District-wide charging infrastructure, and finally promotion of low-carbon leisure activities through the development of active infrastructure for walking, biking, hiking, canoeing, snowshoeing etc.
“Listening to the recent delegations from CAM has prompted us to consider the opportunity to bring forward a more comprehensive, collaborative strategy for your consideration,” Christy Doyle, Director of Environmental & Watershed Programs, told Council. She pointed out that doing anything meaningful requires an all-hands-on-deck approach.
A New Leaf, includes the District government’s plan to reduce its own carbon footprint, the MCCAP. It also embraces as a guiding framework the strong Climate Emergency resolution brought to the Council by CAM: a greater than 50% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030, reaching zero by 2050, development of a Community Climate Action Plan (CAP), with input from a diverse, representative Community Working Group, which will regularly review and update the CAP.
Councillor Nancy Alcock, urged all councillors to sign up individually on the CAM website to take the 50% by 2030 Community Carbon Challenge to demonstrate leadership on climate to their constituents.
The District now joins countries, municipalities, businesses and individual citizens around the world in raising its ambition to address the Climate Crisis ahead of the 2021 COP26 international climate conference. Some countries have revised their decarbonization goals upwards, noting that 50% by 2030 is now considered insufficient to keep the heating below the 1.5C degrees over pre-industrial levels.
[See a PDF of the presentation to council here and the report to committee which includes a copy of A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy here.]
CAM is an inclusive, non-partisan group of citizens concerned about climate change in Muskoka.