reducing emmissons

Blog Post

TransformWR Endorsed by All Eight Municipal Councils in Waterloo Region

July 8th, 2021

In June 2021, the ClimateActionWR collaborative brought the TransformWR long term strategy and short term plan to all eight area municipal councils. The TransformWR strategy outlines our community’s pathway to an 80% greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction by 2050, and identifies local actions that can be taken in Waterloo Region to reduce emissions 30% by 2030. In addition to endorsing the TransformWR strategy, all Councils passed an additional interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030 brought forth by local grassroots organization, 50by30WR. Bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will be required to reach this deeper reduction target.

These council meetings brought forth promise, encouragement, and an outpouring of support for both the TransformWR strategy and local climate action, as evidenced from the many, many delegates that spoke and submitted written comments at each and every Council meeting. Now that the strategy has been endorsed, and local government and the broader community alike has shown support for ambitious climate action, we can hit the ground running to achieve both our short and long term targets.


City of Waterloo – May 31, 2021

The City of Waterloo Special Council met on May 31, 2021. The delegates that spoke were Mat Thijssen, Sarah Ghorpade, and Lucas Mollame from Waterloo Sustainability Advisory Committee, Kai Reimer-Watts and Meg Ruttan Walker from 50by30WR, community member Mike Morrice, Shirley Irish and Henriette Thompson from Faith Climate Justice Network, Stephanie Goertz from Food System Roundtable of Waterloo Region, Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester, Guy Brodsky from Our Time KW, Bruce Taylor from Enviro-Stewards, and Lesley Johnston from Fossil Free UW. After hearing from delegations, all Councillors unanimously voted to approve the following recommendations:

  1. That Council approve report CAO2021-011.
  2. That Council endorse the attached TransformWR strategy, as the community climate change mitigation strategy for the City of Waterloo.
  3. That Council direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy. For the City of Waterloo this includes: i. Developing an implementation plan; and
    ii. Incorporating the strategy into strategic and business plans and the City of Waterloo’s budget process where applicable.
  4. That Council endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30% reduction by 2030, Council emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.
  5. That Council direct staff to advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR.
  6. That Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress.
  7. That Council direct that this report be submitted to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as the City of Waterloo’s community scope progress on the Partners for Climate Protection Program Milestones 1-3 as renewed.

“I think it is hard to understate how important the motion that is before us today and the strategy that’s before us today is. For the future that we are all trying to build for all of us, so that all of us can have the kind of equitable, prosperous, sustainable world that our parents and grandparents were able to experience. Our world necessarily is going to be different, it is already changing in ways that we need to work hard to arrest and correct. But it’s also changing in ways that give us all great hope that we can have a future that looks better tomorrow than it did today because we are working together to build that future for ourselves, for our children, for our grandchildren, for everybody that comes after and that starts here in Waterloo Region with all of us rolling up our sleeves together to take transformative actions that will change the way we move, the way we build and operate our spaces, the way we produce, consume and waste, and the ways that we relate to one another.”

– Coun. Jeff Henry, City of Waterloo

Township of Woolwich – June 1, 2021

On June 1, the Woolwich Township Committee of the Whole met. After hearing from delegates Bruce Taylor from Enviro-Stewards, Kai Reimer-Watts and Stephanie Goertz from 50by30WR and community member Sandra Bray, the Committee voted unanimously to pass all recommendations:

  1. Endorse the attached TransformWR strategy as the community climate change mitigation strategy for the Township of Woolwich;
  2. Direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy for the Township of Woolwich including the implementation of actions in the strategy subject to available funds and/or approved budget and appropriate human resources;
  3. Direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy;
  4. Advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR;
  5. Submit this report to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as the Township of Woolwich community scope progress on the Partners for Climate Protection Program Milestones 1-3 as renewed.
  6. Endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30% reduction by 2030, Council commits $100,000 from additional levy collection to support the community climate strategy and emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.

“Council commits $100,000 from additional levy collection to support the community climate strategy and emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.”

– Township of Woolwich

City of Cambridge – June 8, 2021

The City of Cambridge Special Council meeting was held June 8, 2021. Delegates that spoke were community member Randy Saad, Bruce Taylor from Enviro-Stewards, Scott Morton-Ninomiya from 50by30WR, and Lesley Johnston from Fossil Free UW. Councillors passed the following recommendations in a vote of 6 in favour to 2 opposed:

  1. THAT Report 21-141(CRE) be received;
  2. AND THAT the attached TransformWR strategy be endorsed;
  3. AND THAT Council direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy. For Cambridge, this direction includes that: the TransformWR strategy be referred to staff responsible for the City’s various strategies that incorporate sustainability initiatives for review;
  4. AND THAT staff responsible for these existing plans incorporate the TransformWR action items where appropriate into future business planning and/or budget processes;
  5. AND THAT Council recognizes that, although the TransformWR target of a 30% reduction in GHG emissions is laudable, with additional support from the Federal and Provincial governments, Cambridge should endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030, and strive for bolder and more immediate local actions to combat GHG emissions.
  6. AND THAT Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy;
  7. AND FURTHER THAT Cambridge advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformation outlined in TransformWR and the goal of a 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030.

“We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to show that we listen to established science, that we are progressive, and that we are able to act swiftly in the face of a global crisis by taking substantive local change now.”

– Coun. Scott Hamilton, City of Cambridge

Township of Wellesley – June 8, 2021

On June 8, 2021, the Wellesley Township Committee of the Whole met. The committee heard from delegates community member Jeff Quint, Kai Reimer-Watts from 50by30WR, Lyndsay Dajka and Betsey Daub from Nith Valley EcoBoosters, Stephanie Goertz from Food System Roundtable of Waterloo Region, Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester, and Doug Jones, former Board of Directors of OFA. The Committee unanimously voted in support of these recommendations:

  1. That the Council of the Township of Wellesley endorse the attached TransformWR
    strategy as the community climate change mitigation strategy for
    Wellesley Township.
  2. That Council direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to
    implement the strategy. For the Township of Wellesley this direction includes: Updating existing plans and developing plans to implement the strategy subject to available funds, resources, staffing and/or approved budget.
  3. That Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy.
  4. That the Township of Wellesley advocate for provincial and federal support and
    action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR.
  5. That Council endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions
    reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30% reduction by 2030, Council emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.

City of Kitchener – June 14, 2021

On June 14, 2021, the City of Kitchener Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee met. The Committee heard from delegates Devon Fernandes from KW Library of Things, Eric Hunsberger & Ron Hiller from Faith Climate Justice Network, Bruce Taylor from Enviro-Stewards, Gordon Nicholls from Friends of Hidden Valley, Scott Morton-Ninomiya and Meg Ruttan Walker from 50by30WR, Lesley Johnston from Fossil Free UW, community member Carol Burrows, Tanya Schmah from Divest UW, community member Mike Morrice, Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester, and community member Kai Reimer-Watts. The Committee then unanimously voted in support of these recommendations:

  1. That the attached TransformWR strategy be endorsed as the community climate change mitigation strategy for City of Kitchener; and,
  2. That Council endorses in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30% reduction by 2030, Council calls for bold and immediate action from the provincial and federal government to enable municipalities to reach this deeper reduction target; and,
  3. That staff be directed to develop detailed plans to implement the TransformWR strategy and report back on any funding implications through future budget processes; and,
  4. That staff be directed to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy; and, that the City of Kitchener advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR; and,
  5. That an FTE be added to support Kitchener Utilities with developing, and implementing, a Kitchener Utilities Low-Carbon Sustainable Business Strategy that will support the transition to reduce greenhouse gases; and further,
  6. That this report be submitted to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as the City of Kitchener’s community scope progress on the Partners for Climate Protection Program Milestones 1-3 as renewed.

“I think this is a body of work that has been boldly prepared by many community partners, it’s had extensive community consultation and this community has exhibited, continually for many decades, leadership, going back to when the blue box starts in the City of Kitchener many decades ago. And I think it is incumbent on us to have that same kind of definitive leadership as we go into this next step.”

– Coun. Berry Vrbanovic, Region of Waterloo

Township of North Dumfries – June 14, 2021

Later on June 14, the North Dumfries Township Committee of the Whole met. The Committee heard from delegates Kai Reimer-Watts and Meg Ruttan Walker from 50by30WR, Stephanie Goertz from Food System Roundtable of Waterloo Region, and Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester. The Committee then unanimously approved the recommendations:

  1. THAT Council receives the presentation from Mary Jane Patterson, Executive Director, Reep Green Solutions, and Tova Davidson, Executive Director, Sustainable Waterloo Region, with thanks;
  2. AND THAT Council receives CAO Report No. 15-2021;
  3. AND THAT Council endorse the framework and over-arching principles of the TransformWR documentation, received June 14th, 2021, as the community climate change mitigation strategy for the Township;
  4. AND THAT Council provides direction to the Chief Administrative Officer that across the organization the requirement to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy. For the Township this includes:
    • developing an implementation plan and priorities;
    • incorporating the strategy into strategic and business plans, and, the budget process where applicable
  5. AND THAT the Township advocate for Provincial and Federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR documentation;
  6. AND THAT Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress;
  7. AND THAT this Report be submitted to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as the Township’s community scope progress on the Partners for Climate Protection Program Milestones 1-3 as renewed.
  8. AND THAT Council endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30% reduction by 2030, Council emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.

Township of Wilmot – June 14, 2021

The Wilmot Township Council met on June 14. The Council heard from delegates Lyndsay Dajka and Betsey Daub from Nith Valley EcoBoosters, Marie Perry from Let’s Tree Wilmot, Lisa Clifford from Wilmot Horticultural Society, Andres Fuentes from 50by30WR, community member Becky Voll, Stephanie Goertz from Food System Roundtable of Waterloo Region, and Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester. Council voted to endorse the following recommendations unanimously:

  1. THAT the attached TransformWR strategy be  endorsed as the community climate change mitigation strategy for the Township of  Wilmot; and further,  
  2. THAT Council direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy, subject to available funding and resource allocations; and further,  
  3. THAT Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy; and further,  
  4. THAT the Township of Wilmot advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in the TransformWR strategy; and  further, 
  5. THAT Council endorse, in principle, an interim absolute community Greenhouse Gas emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30%  reduction by 2030, Council emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.

“We have the potential for 44% collaborative impact with our municipal partners here. I don’t think that’s a spectator sport for us. I’m all in! That’s 630,000 people that we represent today, and tomorrow it’s 900,000. So I do think that this is something we are heavily involved in and engaged in as stakeholders to help support it through the greater community.”

– Coun. Helen Jowett, Region of Waterloo

Region of Waterloo – June 22, 2021

The final council presentation was the Region of Waterloo Committee of the Whole on June 22, 2021. There were many delegates that spoke before the Committee, community member Jenny (Yao) Zhou, young community member Aiden Morton-Ninomiya, Karly Rath from Laurier Student’s Public Interest Research Group, community member Monika Wagner, Carol Burrows and Nolan Andres from Faith Climate Justice Network, community member Alex Latta, Scott Morton-Ninomiya and Meg Ruttan Walker from 50by30WR, Guy Brodsky from Our Time KW, community member Laura Hamilton, Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester, Gordon Nicholls from Friends of Hidden Valley, Bruce Taylor from Enviro-Stewards, community member Kai Reimer-Watts, Lyndsay Dajka and Betsey Daub from Nith Valley EcoBoosters, Stephanie Goertz from Food System Roundtable of Waterloo Region. The Councillors from across the Waterloo Region voted unanimously in favour of the recommendations subject to additional financial analysis and budgetary approval:

  1. That the attached TransformWR strategy be endorsed, as the community climate change mitigation strategy for the Regional Municipality of Waterloo;
  2. That Council direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy. For the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, this direction includes:
    • Updating existing plans and developing new plans to implement the actions assigned to the Region, in the attached strategy, and further consult on the implementation of the 6 Transformative Changes outlined in the strategy;
    • Developing a detailed corporate climate change plan to transition the Region off of fossil fuels as a corporation and as a community service provider, built collaboratively among departments and divisions and including interim and long-term targets; and
    • Considering the broad direction of the TransformWR strategy as interim guidance from Council on expectations for current and upcoming work, while plans for full corporate and community implementation are being completed;
  3. That Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy; and
  4. That the Regional Municipality of Waterloo advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR

And in a second vote, the Committee evaluated and passed the following additional climate action amendment with a vote of 14 in favour and 1 opposed.

  1. Therefore be it resolved that the Region of Waterloo endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emission reduction target of 50% reduction below 2010 levels by 2030 (50×30).
  2. And advocate through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and directly to the Province and advocate through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and directly to the Federal Government to provide the necessary policies, initiatives and funding to accomplish this goal in our community.
  3. And that copies of this resolution will be forwarded to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of Ontario, all area MPs and MPPs, AMO and FCM.
  4. And that progress towards this objective be reported publicly, biannually in a regional council meeting and concurrently with progress reports on the TransformWR plan.

More information from each Council and Committee meeting can be found on each municipality’s website with the relevant links sourced below:

MunicipalityDateAgendaVideoMinutes
WaterlooMay 31Agenda 
Package 
Video (begins at 33:25)Minutes
WoolwichJune 1AgendaVideo (begins at 25:05)Minutes
CambridgeJune 8Agenda
Addendum
Video (begins at 2:11:41)Minutes
WellesleyJune 8Agenda
Addendum
Video (begins at 8:22)Minutes
KitchenerJune 14AgendaVideo (begins at 1:20:48)Minutes
North DumfriesJune 14Agenda
Addendum
Video (begins at 3:33)Minutes
WilmotJune 14AgendaVideo (begins at 1:31:47)Minutes
Region of WaterlooJune 22AgendaVideo (begins at 39:25)Minutes

Plan to TransformWR into a low carbon community going to councils starting May 31

May 27th, 2021

May 27, 2021 – The TransformWR community climate action strategy will be brought to all 8 municipal councils beginning on May 31. TransformWR is our community’s plan to solve climate change while moving our community towards an equitable, prosperous, resilient, low carbon future. 

The plan is the work of ClimateActionWR, a collaborative program supported by local municipalities and led by non-profit organizations Reep Green Solutions and Sustainable Waterloo Region. It outlines a long term strategy to reduce our emissions by 80% by the year 2050, and the immediate steps we need to take to make it happen.

We are so proud of the work that has been done here,” said Mary Jane Patterson, Executive Director of Reep Green Solutions. “This strategy and plan have brought together the vision given to us by the community, through an extensive consultation and outreach process, as well as the technical expertise of climate change experts. It is a strong, ambitious plan that can be immediately actioned by all parts of our community.

TransformWR was developed in partnership with all 8 municipalities: The Cities of Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo, the Townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot, and Woolwich, and the Region of Waterloo. It was designed to be the guiding document that outlines the work that needs to be done by municipal governments, businesses, community organizations, and residents of Waterloo region. It outlines how we’ll need to reduce vehicle travel, switch to zero emission vehicles, transition businesses and homes off fossil fuels, shift toward a circular economy, and grow our local food system, all while increasing equity, prosperity, and resiliency for all.  

What we heard from the community about what they want this future to look like takes our breath away,” said Tova Davidson, Executive Director of Sustainable Waterloo Region. “Waterloo region’s people and business community understand that what we are working towards is not just about the environment. A sustainable future means we are healthier, more connected, more prosperous, and have a brighter future for all citizens. That is why the plan integrates equity and justice into this transition to a low carbon future.” 

Beginning on May 31 and continuing through June 22, TransformWR will be brought to the eight municipal councils for its endorsement. The schedule is: 

CouncilDateTimeInformation LinkLive Stream Link
City of Waterloo May 31, 202112:00 PM council info live stream  
Township of WoolwichJune 1, 20217:00 PMcouncil infolive stream  
City of CambridgeJune 8, 20215:00 PM council infolive stream  
Township of WellesleyJune 8, 20216:45 PM council infolive stream  
City of KitchenerJune 14, 202112:00 PM council infolive stream
Township of North DumfriesJune 14, 20216:00 PMcouncil info live stream
Township of WilmotJune 14, 20217:00 PM council infolive stream
Region of WaterlooJune 22, 20219:00 AMcouncil infolive stream  

This is the last step before we move toward implementation, which will require collaboration and action from everyone across our community,” said Samantha Tremmel, ClimateActionWR Plan Manager. “We can absolutely solve climate change, by taking action right here in Waterloo region. And TransformWR shows how we’re going to do it.

All eight municipalities in Waterloo Region endorsed the community’s target to reduce emissions by 80% by the year 2050. TransformWR is the strategy to achieve this target. 


About ClimateActionWR:

ClimateActionWR is a collaboration between local organizations, community members, and municipalities in Waterloo region, focused on climate change mitigation, led by Sustainable Waterloo Region and Reep Green Solutions. It coordinates the activities of our community’s climate action plans with a current greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target of 80% GHG reduction by 2050.

About Reep Green Solutions:
Reep Green Solutions is an environmental charity based in the Waterloo Region committed to helping people live sustainably. Reep offers home energy, waste reduction, water conservation and healthy yards services.

About Sustainable Waterloo Region:

Sustainable Waterloo Region is an environmental non-profit organization that catalyzes transformation to sustainable systems of energy, mobility and buildings to build a cleaner, more diverse economy. The SWR network of organizations participate in our programs to achieve environmental and economic benefits. By building networks, setting a common direction for results, and publicly reporting on progress, we are working to maximize both the individual and collective successes of organizations in Waterloo region.


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact

Samantha Tremmel – Plan Manager

samantha.tremmel@climateactionwr.ca

Transforming the Ways We Relate to One Another

April 10th, 2021

TransformWR is Waterloo Region’s long term community climate action strategy, and our community-wide response to the global climate crisis. This work outlines our strategy to achieve an 80% local greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction target (based on 2010 levels) by 2050, with a short-term interim target to reduce GHGs 30% by 2030. The outcome of this collective action will help us achieve our vision for 2050, and ultimately transform Waterloo Region into an equitable, prosperous, resilient, low carbon community.   

Our call to action is to transform our community, in the ways we move, the ways we build and operate our spaces, the ways we produce, consume and waste, and the ways we relate to one another.

This excerpt from the TransformWR strategy focuses on: transforming the ways we relate to one another.

The ways that we relate to one another is a critical factor in how we foster relationships at all levels, and is essential to making ambitious progress towards our goals. The word ‘relate’ is rich, meaning to show or establish a connection between two or more things, or to have an understanding (of people or ideas). Our ability to relate to one another influences how we interact and communicate with, as well as learn from, those within our local community, and to others outside of that. Developing a deep understanding of how people, organizations, and communities that are different than ourselves, operate and live their lives can be a powerful catalyst for action that is equitable, and raises everyone up together, especially those who have traditionally experienced disproportionality and disparity.

The transition required to address climate change is a once-in-a-century opportunity to build the community we want. This came through strongly in our community consultation. While making the transformative changes, enacting the strategies, and accomplishing the action items, we must ensure that we do so in a way that makes our community more equitable, prosperous, and resilient. This will take ongoing collaboration and coordination of efforts between local sectors, community members and organizations, and with senior levels of government. 

To achieve our GHG reduction targets, we must work toward locally producing energy from carbon neutral, renewable sources. This work, as well as the other transformative changes, must be done in a way that increases equity and supports the members of our community that need it most. A crucial first step in doing this is establishing metrics that enable us to measure progress in reducing inequities, and creating climate action solutions that increase equity. From there, we can work towards being recognized as a national leader in sustainability, clean tech, renewable energy, and energy retrofits by 2050, in a just way that benefits all.

Every Waterloo Region municipality, organization, business, and community member has an important role to play in Waterloo Region’s transition to a low carbon community. This strategy is meant to influence all future planning. Official plans, corporate plans, organizational planning etc. should look to this document, and the work outlined in the strategy should be integrated into all planning processes for the next 30 years, to align our community with success. This is a launching point for the next 30 years of local climate action, and the years ahead of us are where the real work comes into play.  If you are interested in contributing to this work, consider applying for one of our sector committees, more information on that opportunity is available at https://climateactionwr.ca/get-involved/#volunteer.

Now is the time to act! Visit EngageWR.ca to review the full draft TransformWR document, look for the ways you see yourself in it, and join the entire community in helping to create a better future for us today and for generations to come. Together we can build a more equitable, prosperous, resilient, low carbon future!

Transforming How We Produce, Consume, and Waste

April 1st, 2021

TransformWR is Waterloo Region’s long term community climate action strategy, and our community-wide response to the global climate crisis. This work outlines our strategy to achieve an 80% local greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction target (based on 2010 levels) by 2050, with a short-term interim target to reduce GHGs 30% by 2030. The outcome of this collective action will help us achieve our vision for 2050, and ultimately transform Waterloo Region into an equitable, prosperous, resilient, low carbon community.   

Our call to action is to transform our community, in the ways we move, the ways we build and operate our spaces, the ways we produce, consume and waste, and the ways we relate to one another.

This excerpt from the TransformWR strategy focuses on: transforming how we produce, consume, and waste.

Waste has significant consequences for greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). When organic material is disposed of in landfills, they break down into methane, which is 25 times more damaging to our climate than carbon dioxide. We account for some of that methane in our community inventory, but this only reflects what has been landfilled at our local public landfills (residential waste that is collected through the Region’s curbside collection program).

Waste from businesses and multi-residential buildings with more than six units is arranged and paid for privately, without involvement from the Region or area municipalities. Much of this commercial waste leaves the community and is sent to landfills elsewhere. Since this process is arranged by landlords, condominiums, and businesses, we do not know how much waste is produced locally, where it goes, or whether GHG-emitting organics have been removed before the waste is landfilled.

Additionally, and what we cannot fully account for locally, is the energy used in making the things that we consume, and transporting it to us and eventually to the landfill or recycling centre. Reducing our energy use and reducing our energy emissions relies on us using less, and building a circular economy (using items as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them, and recovering, repurposing, and/or regenerating new products).

While methane emissions from livestock at local farms make up 5% of our local GHG inventory (and are counted as our local agriculture sector emissions), some of the emissions from the food we eat appear in other sections of our local inventory. These show up as business use of fossil fuels for farm operations, or when vehicles are used to transport food or food waste. While we have strong local food production, much of our food is made or grown elsewhere. The emissions used to make and grow food elsewhere and transport it to the region for us to eat can be significant and are important to address.

A significant way to reduce emissions caused by the food we eat is to make more of our food close to home. A locally-based food system is also more resilient, as we are less reliant on supply chains from other parts of the world, and less vulnerable to changes or shocks in those systems. We are fortunate in Waterloo Region to be a strong agricultural community, with land, people, and a food system that can serve as the foundation for a future where we make more of our own food. 

Every Waterloo Region municipality, organization, business, and community member has an important role to play in Waterloo Region’s transition to a low carbon community. This strategy is meant to influence all future planning. Official plans, corporate plans, organizational planning etc. should look to this document, and the work outlined in the strategy should be integrated into all planning processes for the next 30 years, to align our community with success. This is a launching point for the next 30 years of local climate action, and the years ahead of us are where the real work comes into play. 

Now is the time to act! Visit EngageWR.ca to review the full draft TransformWR document, look for the ways you see yourself in it, and join the entire community in helping to create a better future for us today and for generations to come. Together we can build a more equitable, prosperous, resilient, low carbon future!

Transforming How We Build and Operate our Spaces

March 26th, 2021

TransformWR is Waterloo Region’s long term community climate action strategy, and our community-wide response to the global climate crisis. This work outlines our strategy to achieve an 80% local greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction target (based on 2010 levels) by 2050, with a short-term interim target to reduce GHGs 30% by 2030. The outcome of this collective action will help us achieve our vision for 2050, and ultimately transform Waterloo Region into an equitable, prosperous, resilient, low carbon community.   

Our call to action is to transform our community, in the ways we move, the ways we build and operate our spaces, the ways we produce, consume and waste, and the ways we relate to one another.

This excerpt from the TransformWR strategy focuses on: transforming how we build and operate our spaces.

45% of our local GHG emissions in 2015 came from energy used in buildings. Most of this is from natural gas or other fossil fuels, used to heat our workplaces and homes, and provide hot water.

Space heating in most of the homes and businesses in Waterloo Region currently comes from natural gas. HVAC equipment, such as furnaces and boilers, transfer heat generated from the natural gas combustion to air or water which is distributed throughout the building to provide space heating. In the average Canadian home, the hot water heater uses nearly a fifth of a home’s total energy from all fuel sources. Switching off of fossil fuels for heating and cooling needs in businesses and homes is one of the most impactful changes we can make to reduce GHG emissions locally.

To meet our 80by50 target, we must address this in the buildings that already exist, as well as set expectations for how new ones will be built.

Every Waterloo Region municipality, organization, business, and community member has an important role to play in Waterloo Region’s transition to a low carbon community. This strategy is meant to influence all future planning. Official plans, corporate plans, organizational planning etc. should look to this document, and the work outlined in the strategy should be integrated into all planning processes for the next 30 years, to align our community with success. This is a launching point for the next 30 years of local climate action, and the years ahead of us are where the real work comes into play.  If you are interested in contributing to this work, consider applying for our Residential or Workplaces sector committees, more information on that opportunity is available at https://climateactionwr.ca/get-involved/#volunteer.

Now is the time to act! Visit EngageWR.ca to review the full draft TransformWR document, look for the ways you see yourself in it, and join the entire community in helping to create a better future for us today and for generations to come. Together we can build a more equitable, prosperous, resilient, low carbon future!

Transforming the Ways We Move

March 19th, 2021

TransformWR is Waterloo Region’s long term community climate action strategy, and our community-wide response to the global climate crisis. This work outlines our strategy to achieve an 80% local greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction target (based on 2010 levels) by 2050, with a short-term interim target to reduce GHGs 30% by 2030. The outcome of this collective action will help us achieve our vision for 2050, and ultimately transform Waterloo Region into an equitable, prosperous, resilient, low carbon community.   

Our call to action is to transform our community, in the ways we move, the ways we build and operate our spaces, the ways we produce, consume and waste, and the ways we relate to one another.

This excerpt from the TransformWR strategy focuses on: transforming the ways we move.

In 2015, nearly half (49%) of our community’s GHG emissions came from how we move people and goods. Furthermore, short distance trips of less than five kilometers make up nearly 50% of all travel by residents within the Region that could generally be achieved using active forms of transportation.

Active transportation means any method of traveling to a destination that uses primarily human power, which we describe as “walking, cycling, or rolling.” This includes trips made using, or propelled by your body, a mobility device, a bicycle or tricycle (with or without assistance from an electric battery), a skateboard, or a scooter.

Results of Waterloo Region’s 2010 and 2015 GHG inventories show a local GHG reduction of 5.2%. To achieve our long-term 80% reduction target, significant collaborative efforts will need to be made over the next 30 years.

To meet our 80by50 target, by 2050 existing short trips need to be made by walking, cycling, or rolling. Longer trips, where possible, need to be replaced by shorter trips. For example, instead of driving to a grocery store across town, more people will walk, cycle, or roll to a store nearby.

Public transit service is crucial for making most trips using active transportation. It gives people a low- energy, convenient option for trips that they can’t walk, cycle, or roll to. It supports being able to live fulfilling lives without owning a vehicle, and is accessible to people of different incomes and abilities. In this way, a robust transit service needs to be used to supplement our active transportation goals.

While most trips will be made using active transportation by 2050, many trips will still require powered vehicles. This includes public transit vehicles, and personal and commercial vehicles. This is especially the case for rural parts of Waterloo Region where active transportation is not realistic over long distances, and there is limited access to public transit. All remaining vehicles in 2050 must be zero-emission vehicles.

Electric vehicles (EV’s) are zero-emissions, and are already available to consumers. Most major auto manufacturers are already producing electric models, and many automobile manufacturers such as Toyota and General Motors have announced dates by which they will phase out gasoline powered vehicles. While some types of industrial and commercial vehicles may need to use other zero-emissions technologies like green hydrogen, with strong investments in charging infrastructure, the future of most vehicles is electric.

Every Waterloo Region municipality, organization, business, and community member has an important role to play in Waterloo Region’s transition to a low carbon community. This strategy is meant to influence all future planning. Official plans, corporate plans, organizational planning etc. should look to this document, and the work outlined in the strategy should be integrated into all planning processes for the next 30 years, to align our community with success. This is a launching point for the next 30 years of local climate action, and the years ahead of us are where the real work comes into play. If you are interested in contributing to this work, consider applying for our Transportation sector committee, more information on that opportunity is available at https://climateactionwr.ca/get-involved/#volunteer.

Now is the time to act! Visit EngageWR.ca to review the full draft TransformWR document, look for the ways you see yourself in it, and join the entire community in helping to create a better future for us today and for generations to come. Together we can build a more equitable, prosperous, resilient, low carbon future!

Waterloo Region’s Residential Sector

December 21st, 2020

In 2013, ClimateActionWR, led by Reep Green Solutions and Sustainable Waterloo Region, collaborated with the Region of Waterloo, and the Cities of Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo to create the first Climate Action Plan for Waterloo Region. This Climate Action Plan aimed to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions by 6% below 2010 levels by 2020. Next year, a community greenhouse gas inventory will be conducted to determine if we have met that ambitious goal, which will be an important first step towards our overall 80% reduction goal by 2050. 

The following post is part of an ongoing series of blogs highlighting the hard work our action owners have been doing to move us towards our community targets. This one will focus on the residential energy sector.

The Homes Sector

In 2010, homes in Waterloo region accounted for 22% of the region’s GHG emissions with 782,459 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. At that time, two goals were set out: to reduce average energy use in households while maintaining or increasing home comfort, and to increase local and renewable energy supply to the residential sector. The 2015 reinventory did show initial improvements in the residential sector with a reduction of 5,495 tonnes to 776,964 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, this was especially impressive due to the increase of homes and population. Our next GHG inventory is expected in late 2021. 

 A local distribution company, or LDC, is a distribution company that maintains the portion of the utility supply grid that is closest to the residential and small commercial consumer. The term is used for both the electric and natural gas supply.

Thousands of residents across the region have taken steps to reduce energy use in their homes through programs offered by their LDC’s, as well as environmental organizations like Reep Green Solutions. As Waterloo region’s population continues to be the fastest growing census metropolitan area in the country, we are fortunate to have local action owners helping homeowners lower their GHG emissions while saving money.

What Has Been Done?

Earlier this year, ClimateActionWR reached out to some of our community action owners for updates on how they are doing with their goals. Kitchener Utilities and Waterloo North Hydro both responded with some promising statistics and information on programs available to local residents. 

Waterloo North Hydro shared that they are projecting to exceed 82.38 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of savings (enough energy to power 9,807 homes!) even with reduced rebate program delivery due to provincial funding cuts. Waterloo North Hydro is also part of an ongoing group of LDCs delivering retrofit programs throughout SouthWestern Ontario, with the project extending until the end of this year.

Kitchener Utilities (KU) has helped residential customers save 136,174 m3 of natural gas and industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) customers saved 252, 998 m3 of natural gas in 2019 from rebate programs. KU launched a $250 on-bill credit furnace rebate program in 2019, which is still available to customers who replace their existing furnaces with a higher efficiency model. For April 2019, KU also promoted a showerhead rebate program ($15 instant in-store rebate) at various retail locations in Kitchener.

Challenges Faced

There have been some challenges with helping local residents improve their home energy efficiency due to many provincial government programs being cancelled in the past 2 years. In 2018, the provincial government announced the end of the GreenON program, which provided incentives and rebates to homeowners looking to make a number of energy efficient home improvements. As of March 21st, 2019, all residential programs with the exception of the Home Assistance program, as well as the majority of the business programs, were cancelled. 

As a result of the removal of these provincial incentive programs, Reep Green Solutions, a local environmental non-profit that offers energy audits to homeowners, has noted a marked decrease in home energy evaluations.

Reep Green Solutions Audits 2017-2019
Reep Green Solutions CO2 From Energy Audits 2017-2019

What You Can Do At Home

Today,  while we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are spending more time than ever at home which can lead to an increase in carbon emissions within the residential sector. Residents may already have seen increases in their hydro and natural gas bills since March 2020. While we do not know when regular activities will resume, there are many resources available to people looking to reduce their at-home carbon footprint and save some money on their utility bills. 

Available Rebate Programs:

With more time spent at homes, many people are taking advantage of the opportunity to work on renovation and DIY projects around the house.  For larger projects, there are rebates available from LDCs that can help with making changes to improve efficiency while reducing emissions.

The Region of Waterloo is currently offering a water softener rebate program where residents in single-family, semi-detached or townhouses can receive a $50 rebate for switching their salt-based water softener to just soften hot water. Softening just hot water saves residents an estimated $84 and 48 kg of GHG emissions.

Kitchener residents can receive a $200 on-bill credit for switching their pre-existing water heater to a tankless rental water heater through Kitchener Utilities. Tankless water heaters save residents space and reduce energy consumption by only heating water when it is needed.

While pool season may be over, Waterloo North Hydro customers could receive a $400 rebate for switching their pool’s constant-speed pool pump to an energy saving variable-speed pump before December 31, 2020. This switch helps pool owners save money, reduce electricity usage and enjoy a quieter poolside experience. 

Small Changes That Add Up:

Now that the weather is getting colder, furnaces and heaters will start seeing more use. It is recommended to set your thermostat to where you are comfortable with a sweater on to both reduce emissions but also save on your utility bill. Waterloo North Hydro recommends when it is cold, keeping your thermostat set to 20C/68F during the day and 18°C/65°F at night, and during the warmer months, keeping your air conditioner set to 26°C/78°F during the day and 24°C/74°F at night. Of course everyone’s comfort levels are different, so find what settings work best for you and your family. Programmable thermostats are helpful for creating a schedule and maintain minimum temperatures when away from the house for extended periods of time. 

Halloween may have already passed, but you still need to be wary of phantom power! This is electricity used by technology while technically powered off. HydroOne estimates that the average Canadian home has over 25 devices that use phantom power. Do your best to remember to unplug devices when not in use or look for power bars with timers or auto shutoff to help reduce electricity consumption when your devices are not in use. 

Sustainability At The Home Office:

The definition of a workplace has also evolved due to the pandemic forcing employers and employees to change the way that work is completed. For those whose homes have become their workplaces, Reep and Sustainable Waterloo Region published a series of articles about reducing waste in the office, applicable to both traditional and home workplaces. Some highlights include thoroughly evaluating purchasing decisions to reduce unnecessary purchases and packaging, swapping out single use plastics & lower quality frequently used items for higher quality, sustainable options that will last longer, and cutting down paper waste by choosing paperless options and printing double sided when printing is necessary.

Looking Forward

On November 30th, 2020, the Federal Government released the fall economic statement outlining its fiscal plan for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s economic recovery from it. To ensure a robust and resilient recovery, the government will support Canadians to make their homes greener and more energy-efficient. Canadians will be able to qualify for up to $5,000 for work to improve their homes’ energy efficiency. The Home Energy Retrofit program will cost $2.6 billion over seven years, starting in 2020-21. The funding also will cover the cost of providing one million free EnerGuide efficiency assessments and pay for the recruiting and training of auditors to perform the work. Further details on the program will be outlined in 2021.

To meet our long term climate goals, changes will need to be made everywhere, including at home. Next time you need to replace your furnace or water heater, check with your utility provider or Reep Green Solutions to see what rebate programs are currently available to help you make the energy efficient choice. Reep also has a collection of home energy lessons available for you to find a good contractor, reduce energy consumption, and insulation tips. Additionally, the Reep House for Sustainable Living in Kitchener has been renovated in a way to educate homeowners on energy consumption and changes that can be made in their own home. While workshops and tours can not physically happen in the Reep House with the current pandemic, a virtual 3D tour is available here.

Residential Heat Pump Water Heaters as a Local Climate Action Measure

December 4th, 2020

To help the Waterloo region meet our 80% greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal for 2050, it is important that we look to our homes for where we can reduce our emissions. The majority of our household emissions are currently produced from space and water heating, however, ultimately all homes will have to decarbonize their water heating if our community’s climate targets are to be met. 

Heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) are a proven technology that, when replacing conventional systems for domestic hot water use, can cut a home’s emissions by 6-11%. Conventional water heaters can waste a lot of energy when heating water, and generally perform at 55-80% efficiency . Meanwhile, heat pump water heaters can perform at 350% efficiency because moving heat takes less energy than generating heat. HPWHs have the potential to help utilities in their demand management strategies in at least three ways: by shifting demand through the day, by allowing load up and load shed, and by hourly optimization of demand.

There are 181,655 single family and other low-rise dwellings in the Waterloo region, each of which is likely to have its own water heater. With an average lifespan of 11 years, we can expect 16,514 of these to replace their water heater every year. Switching just 1% of these to HPWH would not only help slash emissions, but help to build trust in the technology, build tradesperson capacity, and build demand for the incentive programs that can make HPWHs the affordable choice for all.

In her research paper, local researcher Heather McDiarmid, MCC, PhD investigates programs that could be used to promote heat pump water heaters in residential homes in the Waterloo Region in her article Residential heat pump water heaters as a climate action measure for Waterloo region which can be found here.

Residential Electrification Potential for Waterloo Region

November 26th, 2020

Our homes contributed 22% of Waterloo region’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2010. Of those emissions, an estimated 80% came from natural gas usage. While many homeowners use natural gas to heat their homes, heat pumps provide an alternate option which can significantly reduce the emissions associated with staying warm during our cold, Canadian winters.

Heat pumps move heat, rather than generating heat and are therefore capable of being far more efficient than other heating equipment (average 300% vs 60-95% efficiency), and can also move heat out of a home to provide air conditioning services in the summer months. Heat pump water heaters can also efficiently provide a home’s hot water needs, and there are two options for electrified space and water heating using energy efficient heat pump technology: cold climate air source heat pumps (ASHPs) and heat pump water heaters (HPWH). 

At current (July 2020) utility prices, models suggest that ASHPs are significantly more expensive to operate than NG furnaces (average $432/yr), but if a home can disconnect from the gas supply and save the connection fee, the average price premium for using an ASHP is only an average of $166/yr. The cost difference varies by home but in 22% of local homes, ASHPs are already cost equivalent or better than NG furnaces if the home can disconnect the gas supply. These homes are newer, smaller and often have shared walls (semi-detached or row housing). For water heaters, HPWHs are already operationally cost-competitive with natural gas systems due largely to the significant difference in energy efficiency of the two technologies. The lifetime costs of heat pumps are significantly lower than oil, propane and other forms of electric heat. ASHPs can reduce whole home emissions by 60-71% and improve energy efficiency by 42-45%. If HPWH are also used, whole home emissions would decrease by 70-82% and energy efficiency would increase by 58-61%. 

In her research paper, local researcher Heather McDiarmid, MCC, PhD further dives into the economics and climate impacts of using heat pumps for space and water heating for homes in Waterloo Region, her article Analysis of the Residential Electrification Potential for the Waterloo Region can be found here.

Electrifying the Waterloo Region | Part Two: Looking Towards the Future

August 31st, 2020

80% Reduction by 2050

In 2018, a region-wide target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was set and endorsed across the Waterloo region. This long-term plan supports the transition towards a low-carbon, sustainable future, reducing emissions 80% below 2010 levels by 2050 (otherwise referred to as 80 by 50). In 2019, ClimateActionWR was granted funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). The grant is part of Transition 2050, an initiative offered through FCM’s Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP). Through this program, ClimateActionWR is working with all 8 Waterloo region municipalities to develop a long-term strategy  to contribute to a low carbon transition by 2050 in alignment with the region-wide target, and the target date as set out by the Paris Agreement and  the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change

Part two of Community Climate Action Blog Series highlights how Waterloo region will achieve the 80 by 50 goal. Let’s see what the future looks like for the Transportation Sector. 

A Change of Pace

The future of mobility is a big question in our society. From new technology like self-driving cars to global pandemics like COVID-19, the way people move from point a to point b is rapidly changing. Deloitte has been tracking these changes with their Future of Mobility insights. Rasheq Zarif tech sector leader says: 

“When people ask, what is future mobility, it’s looking at how is emerging technology changing the pace and disrupting how people and goods move around the city and even beyond.”

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has identified five big moves for transportation in 2020 that encompass more than just technology in the vehicles that we use, but also involve the networks we utilize. These include changes to road management though sensors and connectivity, high-capacity frequency and speed transit systems, mobility hubs to provide high quality transportation experiences from the first to last mile, flexible, shared and eventually autonomous transit options and “Next OS” a platform that will integrate travel into an efficient and effective system. The trends don’t stop there, but there is an overwhelming consensus that transportation in the future needs to be faster, more convenient and sustainable. 

For Waterloo region, local climate action efforts will need to include electrification,  as highlighted in Electrifying the Waterloo Region Part 1: The Story So Far. Electrification is one component of sustainable transportation, but moving away from single-occupancy vehicles is also important. Programs like TravelWise work to support the adoption of public transit, carpooling, cycling and telework.

Moving Forward

In 2018 the Region of Waterloo published Transportation Master Plan: Moving Forward, which outlines the goals and strategies of the Region and it also identified the projects and policies that will help meet our transportation needs for the next 25 years. 

“This updated plan is about completing current and planned transportation projects and pursuing a more sustainable transportation network that supports all modes of travel, enhances accessibility to all residents, and supports the continued economic growth of the Region.”Thomas Schmidt, Commissioner, Transportation and Environmental Services, Region of Waterloo 

The strategies and actions developed in this plan look to promote travel choice, foster a strong economy, support sustainable development and optimize the transportation system. Electrification can fall under all five of the umbrella strategies. 

How Electrification fits into the Master Plan

#1 Selecting Your Mode 

Options for transportation in the Waterloo region have grown tremendously in the past few years. The opening of the LRT has been a huge jump ahead in our community’s use of electric vehicle technology. Electric scooter providers have piloted here and also offer services. We have also seen a growth in electric vehicle ownership, and e-bikes also offer an affordable and accessible commuting option, the numbers aren’t crunched to know how many are on our roads locally. However, we know that this is a growing market with places like Belgium with a market share of 45% for e-bikes. Furthermore, car-sharing companies are increasingly focusing on electric vehicles including e-bikes. Provinces such as British Columbia have implemented incentives as well, with a new rebate program for up to $1,050 for the purchase of an e-bike.  

#2 Promote a Healthy Community

Communities that promote electric transportation are also healthier. We know traffic-related air pollution is a health concern for our communities and a new study actually links it directly to damages to DNA in children. Pulling focus towards active trips such as walking or cycling to school or even carpooling helps reduce the risk of exposure for some of the most vulnerable populations – children.  The Waterloo Region District School Board has made Safe and Active Routes to school a priority in the Region of Waterloo is also leaning towards this change with the implementation of an electric school bus. Children that do not have the option for alternative transportation, electrifying school buses is one way to prevent respiratory illnesses and diseases. 

“Approximately 95 percent of America’s school buses, carrying some of the most vulnerable passengers, run on diesel.”Electric Buses: Clean Transportation for Healthier Neighborhoods and Cleaner Air

The Government of Canada is supporting electric school bus adoption with the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program. In addition, the streets children will bike and walk down to get to school locally should be cleaner with GRT’s commitment to go fully electric. By 2024 GRT plans to only purchase electric buses, providing cleaner air for all road users. 

#3 + #4 Inter-Regional Connections

The ION LRT has only just begun, there’s still the second phase to implement the ION into Cambridge. Currently, the LRT stretches across the Kitchener-Waterloo area stopping at 19 stations along the way. The second stage, Stage 2, will extend the tracks currently being serviced by the ION Bus, and will add an additional 8 stations from Fairway to Downtown Cambridge. The new phase of the system will add further electrification to the entire region. It doesn’t stop there, even interregional travel is speeding towards efficiency! Metrolinx is seeking to add electric GO Trains between Kitchener and Georgetown. Coupled with the plans to improve two-way, all-day service between Toronto and the Waterloo region, travel across many regions in Southern Ontario will become easier and more environmentally friendly. 

#5 The Future is Here

Mobility options are changing every day as new technologies emerge, and the choices for commuters are becoming increasingly more efficient. A more recent development in the world of vehicular travel is ride-sharing. Companies like Lyft are planning to electrify their fleets. Closer to home, Facedrive, a Waterloo start-up, launched services in Ottawa this past summer which offer carbon-neutral rides with electric vehicles and carbon offset initiatives. In the research realm, the University of Waterloo is studying the next generation of automobiles with their Autonomous Vehicle Research and Intelligence Lab (AVRIL). This includes work on eco-driving with automated operation including vehicles like the Toyota hybrid PHV Prius sedan. Options are expanding with new technologies, and Waterloo region as a tech hub is ready for the future! 

Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Community

ClimateActionWR has identified the importance of transportation for reducing the region’s carbon footprint, accounting for nearly 50% of total emissions. Engagement with experts and technical stakeholders from the sustainability industry between November 2019 and February 2020 resulted in the identification of themes, challenges and actions that will help shape Waterloo region’s long-term Climate Action Strategy. Our communities across the region are widely dispersed, making connectivity an important part of decarbonizing the network. 

Beyond connecting the region via municipal agreement and reaching townships, current infrastructure, the cost for investing in transit both at the personal and policy level and the lack of barriers to personal vehicle use are among the roadblocks in the area. Feedback identified both financial, social and behavioural strategies for improving sustainable transportation. Changing how people move includes providing attractive alternatives to personal vehicle use and making alternative commutes easier and accessible for all. Other mitigation strategies and opportunities include: 

  • Increased affordability and infrastructure to support electrification of  personal vehicles
  • Enhancement of accessible and connected local public transit
  • All-day, two way, electricity-based, train service from Waterloo Region to Toronto (has to be 1hr commute to be effective)
  • Walkable and bikeable communities 

If you’d like to hear more, Patrick Darby from WalterFedy shares the findings from the extensive technical engagement initiatives in this presentation. The third phase of the 80 by 50 goal is underway to develop the long-term (30-year) Climate Action Strategy. 

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