Kitchener – Earlier today, Mayor Vrbanovic met with Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to reconfirm their shared commitment to helping address climate change at a local level. Regional Chair Ken Seiling, Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig, Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky, Kitchener Regional Councillor Karen Redman along with representatives from Reep Green Solutions and Sustainable Waterloo Region and local MP’s, also participated in a roundtable to discuss current climate change initiatives, opportunities and challenges and the impacts resulting from the cancellation of provincial environmental programs including the cap and trade.

The environment remains a top community priority and this was reaffirmed through the Environics survey conducted as part of the city’s strategic plan update. As inventors of the blue box and some of the first Canadian municipalities to introduce progressive stormwater utilities, the City of Kitchener and Waterloo Region have a long history of innovation and leadership in sustainability.

“With our recent local commitments to reduce greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050, it is clear that locally we set ambitious targets for reducing our carbon emissions and we remain committed to reaching these goals,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “With the cancellation of some provincial environmental programs, it’s even more important that municipalities and their private partners work together as leaders of sustainability in our communities, together with our federal partners.”

Funding streams from the provincial cap and trade program provided access to capital and infrastructure contributions that were specifically designed to reduce operating expenses through carbon reductions and energy efficiencies. Without this funding, agencies, municipal and regional staff will now have to look at new and creative ways to reach their targets so that they can play their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is an important topic for municipalities and I’m encouraged by the efforts and collaboration we see locally,” added Mayor Vrbanovic. “I am optimistic that our federal and provincial governments will support municipalities in our efforts to protect the environment and build a more sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.”

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