During its April 25 meeting, Orillia Council adopted the Climate Change Action Plan, entitled Orillia’s Climate Future, in principle. This plan will serve as a roadmap for climate action decision making and priority setting in the City of Orillia over the next 30 years and sets ambitious corporate and community greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.
“On behalf of Council, I am thrilled to be moving forward with implementing Orillia’s Climate Future. The Climate Change Action Plan demonstrates the City’s commitment and readiness to tackle the challenges of climate change at our local level,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “I encourage all citizens of Orillia to review the Climate Change Action Plan. While the shift to a net-zero future will take effort and dedication from the whole community, taking action on climate change will lead to a better life for Orillians today and tomorrow.”
In addition to adopting the plan in principle, Council approved corporate GHG emission reduction targets of 50 per cent by 2030 and net zero (100 per cent) by 2040 and endorsed community reduction targets of 33 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
“Establishing a net-zero-emissions-by-2040 corporate GHG emission reduction target is ambitious and positions the City to lead by example in the areas within its direct control,” said Renee Recoskie, Manager, Property and Environmental Sustainability. “We know action is required now to limit warming, with significant progress needed by 2030. We are actively working to implement priority projects approved by Council as part of the 2022 budget process to do our part. Looking ahead, we are excited to work towards achieving the goals identified in Orillia’s Climate Future.”
Orillia’s Climate Future is divided into three ‘Big Moves’ necessary to realize a net-zero community by 2050. These groupings include:
- Big Move 1: Local renewable energy – seeking ways for the community to generate renewable energy.
- Big Move 2: Transportation – increasing the uptake of zero-emission vehicles and making investments in public transit and active transportation.
- Big Move 3: Buildings – retrofitting existing buildings and encouraging high-efficiency new builds to reduce energy demand and GHG emissions.
Along with the ‘Big Moves,’ the plan identifies additional actions to make the transition to net-zero emissions, including managing and reducing waste and ongoing climate action governance.
By 2050, the actions in Orillia’s Climate Future are expected to completely reduce GHG emissions in the community, even with projected population growth. These actions are also anticipated to bring major economic benefits to Orillia, generating an estimated $2 billion in net financial returns for the community by 2050 and creating approximately 260 new local jobs annually, with the majority in residential and commercial building retrofits and infrastructure investments.
In early 2021, the City, along with consulting firm Sustainability Solutions Group, began a strategic planning process to build a long-term Climate Change Action Plan with the community, for the community.
“Community voices were integral to the development of this plan. On behalf of Council, thank you to the Community-Based Steering Committee and citizens who participated in the engagement process,” said Mayor Clarke. “The development of this plan was just the beginning, and we look forward to working closely with the community as we embark on Orillia’s Climate Futuretogether.”
To read the Climate Change Action Plan and stay up to date on implementation progress, visit orillia.ca/climatefuture.