Communities Taking Action

Municipalities Taking Action: Montreal

Gas stove. Headline: Montreal Gas Plan Delivers Small Savings, Aims for Bigger Momentum.

Montreal will no longer permit gas connections in smaller new buildings. Gas-powered heating systems for buildings, hot water, and items like stoves, barbecues, pools, and spas will not be an option for new buildings up to three storeys and 600 square metres in area as of October 1, 2024. The city will extend the ban to larger new buildings on April 1, 2025. From Energy Mix. 

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Across Canada and around the world many cities, towns and communities are taking climate action. Over the next few months we’ll bring you some inspiring stories from these communities.  Find them in our Weekly Newsletter first.

Kingston says ‘YES’ to renewables, ‘NO’ to fossil fuel-generated power

Kingston City Council

Last week, Kingston City Council made it overwhelmingly clear where it stands on addressing our current climate crisis. It said YES to renewables, efficiency and battery storage and NO to polluting gas-fired electricity generation by a vote of 11 to 1. The city made its opposition to new gas-fired generation black and white through an amendment to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) request for Municipal Council Support Resolution for the Procurement of Long-Term Electricity Reliability Services.

The amendment states “it being understood that the support resolution does not apply to natural gas generated projects and exclusively applies to projects that include solar, electricity storage, and biofuels within the City of Kinston.” Kingston sent a message to our provincial electricity planners and Energy Minister Todd Smith that Kingston cares about action on climate change.

  • Source: Watch video
  • Oct. 17, 2023 council meeting: Presentation by Aric McBay on behalf of community citizens: minute 24:30 to 28:46
  • Council Meeting discussion of amendment minute (1:02:00)

Read the story from the Energy Mix

Cities Taking Action — Oh la-la! Paris, France

Under Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Paris has done as much as any city in the world to wage a war on cars amid a growing awareness of the damaging impact they have on cities. 

Passenger cars emit huge amounts of pollution. In Europe they are the leading killer of children. Copenhagen has calculated that for each kilometer cycled by a resident, society reaps a benefit of 64 cents, whereas each kilometer driven costs us 71 cents in impacts on health, safety and the environment. The latest projects in Paris include enforcing a new citywide speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour and establishing car-free zones outside schools. Get the whole story, from Reasons to be Cheerful, here.

Chefs Taking Action — Cooking Without Gas

Picture of chef in kitchen equipped with induction stove.

Chef Christopher Galarza speaks with the evangelical fervor of the convert about the energy and speed—as well as the health and environmental benefits—of induction stoves powered by magnetism, not methane.

Galarza now advises companies like Microsoft on how to put out their pilot lights, part of a nationwide push to electrify the buildings that together generate 13 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions. Read the article, from Sierra Magazine. 

Vancouver, North Van Soar, Montreal Keeps Transit Crown in Latest National Climate League Standings

March 17, 2022 – the Energy Mix – Gaye Taylor

Vancouver and North Vancouver each took top honours in three categories of a citizen-driven sustainability competition where volunteers across Canada tracked municipalities on 31 indicators of a better life for residents—from affordable housing to air quality, from gender equity to bike lanes.

The city of Steinbach, Manitoba, won the affordable housing category in Climate Reality Project Canada’s (CRPC) coveted fourth annual National Climate League (NCL) standings. Manitoba’s third-largest city, Steinbach recently received a provincial grant to make housing accessible to its most vulnerable citizens.

Affordable housing is a “critical factor in the fight against climate change and for climate justice,” says Climate Reality: it’s a basic human right, and when such rights and needs are met, people “are in a much better position to think about long-term goals for themselves and society, exert their power as citizens, and influence decisions related to greenhouse gases.”

Used electric-battery cars in B.C. exempted from provincial sales tax

Picture of a sporty red Tesla

British Columbia is dropping its PST on used electric vehicle purchases as well as home heat pump systems for heating and cooling buildings. BC’s 2020 EV sales of 9.4% far outstrip Ontario’s meagre 3% of sales. BC subsidizes EV purchases to the tune of $3,000 per vehicle. Ontario offers no subsidy. EV uptake in BC has been so strong that the government has moved its ambitious target of 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2040 forward to 2035. From the Daily Hive-Read story 

How a small Ontario township is taking climate action — one building at a time

Township of Douro-Dummer green building
Jacob Rodenburg, executive director of Camp Kawartha, lends a hand during the building of its health centre. Photo courtesy of Deirdre McGahern

Some would say Camp Kawartha on Clear Lake in Ontario is an unlikely place to showcase an innovative green building program. However, the camp’s new nursing station was built using low-carbon construction methods utilized by Douro-Dummer in its efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Nestled among wooden cabins and mosquitoes, the station was made more sustainable by straw bale walls and hemp insulation. From The National Observer. Read Article

Montreal Community Taking Action:  Geothermal heating co-op shares warmth among neighbours

In 2015 a group of environmentally conscious neighbours in Montreal came up with a bold idea to slash carbon emissions — and heating bills — in their neighbourhood of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie. What if they installed a geothermal energy system in the shared laneway behind their homes, so many of their residences could be efficiently heated with electricity instead of gas or oil? From CBC’s What On Earth.

Read the story.

Vancouver Poised To Be First Canadian City With Electric Fire Truck

The Vancouver Sun reports that the city has ordered an electric hubrid Rosenbauer RT pumper truck as part of its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2030. >> 

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New York City Bans Gas in New Buildings

Dec 24, 2021 – Tree hugger – Eduardo Garcia

More than 60 cities in seven U.S. states have approved policies restricting gas in buildings in recent years.

New York City has banned natural gas in new buildings, a move that could help the country’s largest city slash carbon emissions and toxic air pollution.

Natural gas in small new buildings is banned starting December 2023, and large buildings (those with seven or more stories) in 2027. It means that gas-powered stoves, space heaters, and water boilers won’t be able to operate in future buildings. 

Read the whole story – here

Hamilton Votes to Stop Sprawl 

Hamilton Skyline. Photo by Nadine Shaabana via Unsplash.

This is an incredible victory for the thousands of Hamiltonians, led by local activists who worked tirelessly to take their city’s future back from the hands of sprawl developers and rich landowners.

After hundreds and hundreds of letters to council, delegations, lawn signs and flyers, the community showed Hamilton city councillors that it is people, not landowners, whose voices need to be heard. There is definitely a lesson here for our Muskoka municipal councillors to take to heart — before our forests and wetlands are covered with subdivision sprawl.

Guelph’s Climate Action Plan

Guelph powerlines

Kudos to Guelph city council! In a nearly unanimous vote, Guelph city council recently reaffirmed its commitment to fighting climate change while stepping up its plan, including:

  • Putting climate at the centre of all decisions
  • Moving up the city’s net-zero timeline
  • Introducing interim targets
  • Joining the UN’s Cities Race to Zero campaign 
  • Moving up the timeline for switching the city’s municipal facilities and vehicles to 100% renewable energy 

Read about Guelph’s Climate Action Plan