Climate change assessment grant accessed by West Lincoln & Lincoln
By Mike Williscraft
While Town of Lincoln announced last week it had received a $125,000 grant to assess possible adaptations for climate change, the Twp. of West Lincoln rejected and now has approved becoming part of the program.
The program is facilitated by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Climate Change which grants funds to help address staffing gaps and increase capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change or reduce greenhouse (GHG) emissions.
“Under the leadership of council, Lincoln is aiming to build a sustainable community,” said CAO Mike Kirkopoulos.
“Climate adaptation is a critical element of sustainability and developing an action plan to guide staff and Council, is a step towards success. We are grateful for the funding to support this initiative funded by the Government of Canada.”
West LIncoln council initially voted down participating in the program, but Monday night put the matter back on the table.
“We had initially voted that project down, but we did not have all the information,” said West Lincoln Coun. Mike Rehner, adding there were some other concerns which received answers.
West Lincoln, too, will get the $125,000 grant, bringing the number of participating municipalities in Ontario to 60.
To access the grant, Rehner said the cost to West Lincoln will be $15,000.
“That’s not a lot of money to be able to access a grant of that size, so it makes sense,” said Rehner.
The grant is for a two-year term and Rehner noted the term and any contractor hired will not be extended beyond that.
“There was some concern about that because we were involved in a program before and the township ended up creating a full-time job and keeping the person on. We do not want to do that again,” said Rehner.
“The upside of the program is it allows us to get some things done which have been mandated by the government but it will free up staff time. It may also allow us to access additional grant opportunities down the road.”
Since the program had been voted down previously by council, a unanimous vote was needed to bring it back on the table.
After debate, Coun. Chris Coady requested a recorded vote which ended up 5-2 with Mayor Dave Bylsma and Coun. Harold Jonker as the two dissenters, with Councillors Rehner, Coady, Jason Trombetta, Cheryl Ganann and William Reilly voting in favour.
“Essentially, Jason Trombetta and I reversed our votes after we had all the information. It made sense once we had all the details.”