Opinion: Sustainable Orillia Endorses Council Decisions

By Stan Mathewson – Special to SUNonline/Orillia

Sustainable Orillia is pleased to endorse two key decisions made in principle by City Council this past Monday, April 11, 2022.

Council’s approval in principle of the report titled Orillia’s Climate Future, plus their decision to expand their review of boundary expansion options are both very positive steps forward and reflect a growing commitment to increased sustainability for our community.

Orillia’s Climate Future is a comprehensive climate action plan that sets out progressive emission reduction targets for both the Corporation of the City of Orillia and the community overall. The plan identifies key actions in support of three ‘Big Moves’: to ‘Increase Renewable Energy’; to ‘Electrify Transportation’ and to ‘Make our Buildings Energy Efficient’. Since inception in 2019, Sustainable Orillia has advocated for these initiatives, which we continued to do throughout the plan’s consultations. We are very pleased to see them positioned as the plan’s primary pathways to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. 

As part of Council’s decision to consider additional intensification as part of the boundary expansion review, Council’s approval for the development of a set of planning principles or guidelines for the overall review was very gratifying.

Principles or guidelines that support a long-term community vision are fundamental to how decisions are made – in this case, leading up to Orillia’s Official Plan. These principles, together with provincial planning policy direction will help define our community through the next several decades. And they’ll be in harmony with the ongoing work of mitigating climate change throughout that period. 

Sustainable Orillia intends to continue to partner with all stakeholders to enable our community to reduce emissions 33.3% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. Together, with the City’s goal of achieving a 100% reduction of their corporate emissions by 2040, these are aggressive, but necessary goals. Implementing the plan will be the true test of our community’s ability to pull together, to support one-another and work purposefully towards accomplishing these goals. Among the strategies Sustainable Orillia will continue to advocate in support of successfully realizing these goals are:

  • hydrogen to be embedded as a key component of the Orillia Renewable Energy Strategy,
  • electrification of transportation – both public and private. Orillia is already well underway in this department – check out SO’s Electric Vehicle Information Portal for more information and watch for our 4th annual EV Demonstration Weekend.
  • Let’s all take our carbon footprint – particularly those of us with homes built before 1980 and yet to be retro-fitted. Sustainable Orillia can help with tools and information to help identify the opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and boost energy efficiency right in our own homes.

We look forward to Council’s ratification of these two critical initiatives on April 26th and applaud everyone involved in bringing this important work to the fore. Upon approval they will help create a more sustainable future for our community. 

(Photo by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)


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