Open letter to Muskoka District Council
Good morning, Chair Lehmann, Mayors and members of Muskoka District Council,
Pursuant to the discussion that took place at the December 7, 2023 Committee of the Whole on the 2024 District Budget with respect to climate change, we would like to highlight the results of the District’s own recent GHG Public Survey (2023) on climate action and climate spending (see stats below). During the discussion, councillors made multiple comments suggesting that it is the community that needs to lead with respect to climate action. We disagree.
Results of the survey clearly indicate that the public wants and expects you, our elected leaders, to act on climate to increase our local ambition in “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner” as agreed to today by nearly 200 countries at COP28 in Dubai.
The results of last summer’s survey indicate that a significant majority of the Muskoka citizenry is not only ready to spend their own money on climate initiatives, but also wants to see local governments spend more on climate initiatives in line with holding global heating to no more than 1.5C. We need to see Muskoka District Council “Tackling the Change”. Once again Climate Action Muskoka requests that you:
- set up a specific Climate Change Reserve Fund in the 2024 Budget as called for in A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy initiative from 2020
- fund the hiring of one, better two, full-time staff who have climate experience and training to support the Climate Initiatives Coordinator in rolling out the upcoming District community GHG reduction plan promised for early 2024
Results of Muskoka’s Public Greenhouse Gas survey Summer, 2023:
- 368 surveys completed
- 68% of participants are extremely concerned about climate change in Muskoka in the future.
- 85% of participants think it is important for the Muskoka community to act on climate change
- 85% of participants are willing to spend their money on a climate change related initiative
- ***65% of participants think that local governments should be spending more taxpayer money on initiatives related to climate change***
Sue McKenzie, Gravenhurst
Len Ring, Gravenhurst
Tamsen Tillson, Bracebridge
Linda Mathers, Port Carling
Lesley Hastie, Huntsville
On behalf of Climate Action Muskoka
Dec 18, 2023 – Update
The following resolution was passed by District Council
Muskoka District Council
December 18, 2023
Moved by: P. Johnston
Seconded by: P. Koetsier
THAT a ‘Climate Change Reserve Fund’ be established;
AND THAT a one-time allocation of $1,000,000 be transferred from the ‘Environmental Reserve Fund’ to the newly established ‘Climate Change Reserve Fund’;
AND THAT staff report back regarding how to finance annual contributions to the ‘Climate Change Reserve Fund’;
AND THAT additional resources be considered to support the New Leaf Climate Action Plan, the Muskoka Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Initiatives, and other Climate related initiatives.