Newsletter
August 2022

Summer is upon us and we celebrate the warmth that contributes to things growing in our gardens. It’s time to enjoy long days and the nostalgic activities that create summertime memories.  

CNL has had some changes, in May Emily, who has been a critical member of the team, a bright, spirit booster in our times of stress and a true organizational godsend, took a sabbatical. The good news is that she has some interesting and exciting developments and looks forward to sharing those in the near future. The past few months have been intense for Gord and Sue. They felt that having another team member who could continue to engage the Board and volunteers, and build better systems to ensure CNL was working efficiently was required. In July they invited volunteer and executive board member Corry McClure to step in as Interim General Manager. The last few weeks have been filled with adventures in interviewing interns, collaborating on grant applications and gathering momentum around CNL’s major donor campaign. 

This month marks a pivotal moment in CNL’s path, we are publicly sharing an update on the 10-year Climate Action Plan we have been developing in partnership with the County committee. It’s an opportunity to share with our broader supporters what actions have been planned and to invite our community members to start thinking about the comments they might want to make during the upcoming formal public consultation. 

Finally, we offer some resources; a Wetlands Awareness tour in Smith Falls this August and if you are shopping for Electric Vehicles in our region we offer a handy spreadsheet to help you find that next new EV.

Best regards, Gord, Sue, Corry and the Climate Network Lanark Team

1.Big Changes at CNL

The CNL team is pleased to welcome Corry McClure as Interim General Manager — a decision that will enable the Network to continue to move forward and build at this time when taking deep action on climate change is critical. Gord sat down with Corry to talk about her new role and the future of the Network.

 Gord: Welcome Corry. You’ve been involved with the Network for some time in strategic planning, in a couple of our Working Groups and as Vice-Chair of our Board, until stepping down to take this GM position. Before talking about your new role in the Network, I’m interested in your story — what brought you to the climate change issue in general and to CNL in particular?

Corry: It has been a great experience being involved with CNL over the last year.  The climate change issue has been a big part of my personal and business journey.  When I think of climate change, I very much relate to how the climate influences our environment – weather and temperatures. I also observe the different ways in which human behaviour influences the various impacts on our environment.  My upbringing included being considerate of nature and conservation, we lived in the Netherlands for a few years where bicycling and living with less were prevalent.  When it came to raising my own family we chose a life of homesteading, where we grew our own food and reduced our energy consumption. It was eye opening to see how dependent we are on our local environment. As a resident of Almonte, I see CNL taking on initiatives that promote having less impact on the climate, which significantly influences the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Gord: Describe a project or undertaking in your rich professional life that you found most satisfying?

Corry: The theme of my most satisfying projects all centre around people and teams that utilise my consulting services to advance their initiatives fostering well being, sustainability and innovation.  Projects are especially pleasing when they are local initiatives that focus on the essentials such as composting, gardening and soil improvement. 

 Gord: As you know the Network has made remarkable progress — more remarkable as much of the work has been done by volunteers. We have partnered with Lanark County to create a 10-year Climate Action Plan in which we have identified key projects that will help with the actions you identified earlier of reducing our impact on the climate and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  How do you see yourself contributing to building a strong foundation that will enable us to move forward? 

Corry: First the Network is about the people, so it’s important for me to spend 1:1 time with each of our leadership team members to understand their priorities and interests. Another part of my strategy is to clarify and identify our vision and definition of a strong foundation and the required steps to get us there.  Finally, it is to continue to build on the strong partnerships CNL has formed with our local governments, businesses and residents – to find ways to engage, collaborate & support one another in creating a community that is thriving and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Gord: You’ve been in this role for two whole weeks. Any new insights compared to before you dug in, any ah-ha moments?

Corry: Biggest ah-ha moment is how significant it is for our municipalities to be engaged in creating a Climate Action Plan… we are fortunate to have such a forward thinking community. 

 Gord: You and I have chatted before about what keeps you sane — tell me more about activities, just-‘cause kinds of things, hobbies you do for fun, for wellbeing.

 Corry: Any opportunity to be outside in nature; cycling, skiing, rollersking, gardening and swimming in the Mississippi River.  I enjoy spending time with family and loved ones. When it’s time to be inside, you can find me at my easel creating abstract paintings.

2. County Updates

Climate Action Plan Developments

The County committee developing the CAP, on which Gord Harrison and Sue Brandum sit on behalf of CNL, has made progress. County Council, in its Public Works Committee, has reviewed the two tables of actions and sent them back to the committee for some minor tweaking. The committee will do this at its August meeting.

One key development is the decision by Council to pull out one particular action and make it predominant. This is the Climate Lens, a tool developed by retired local climate expert Bob Argue to help local governments, businesses and other institutions determine what Greenhouse Gas impacts a given action might have. Making it predominant means County staff and Councillors will apply it to every consideration and decision they make. So, for example, when any action item is presented to Council it will not only have the expected cost attached, but will have the expected GHG/Climate Change impact attached, meaning that Council will make decisions in full transparency and fully understanding what the climate implications are. 

Here are the Tables to date. Please review them. It’s estimated that the participants in Climate Network Lanark contributed some 70-80% of the actions and many Councillors have told us directly that the Plan would not be as comprehensive as it is without our input. At some point, ideally in the very near future, there will be an opportunity for a formal public consultation so it would be worthwhile now to start to prepare your comments. 

Community Climate Action Table (draft)

Community Climate Action Table

Corporate Climate Action Table (draft)

Corporate Climate Action Table

3. County RFP for Social Housing and GHGs

In May, Lanark County issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to retrofit three of their social housing buildings in the County (a total of 55 units in 3 buildings in Almonte, Perth and Smiths Falls). The RFP called for the additional use of more natural gas in the buildings. Meanwhile the Climate Action Plan committee of Council had developed guiding principles for the plan that included the Elimination of Fossil Fuels (as per the IPCC demand for 2025). CNL presented to the committee that the RFP should be changed so that bidders were required to evaluate electric heat pumps at least and ideally to not use any fossil fuels. Initially, the County Council, and the Public Works committee, agreed to the revisions to the RFP. However, when the proposal went before full Council, Council overturned the earlier decision by a vote of 8-7. The RFP was not revised. However, when the process was closed at the end of May, even though 9 companies had turned out for the information sessions, none bid. The County is expected to reissue the RFP next year. By that time CNL expects that the County will have fully adopted the CAP Guiding Principles and the directions to bidders will more clearly articulate elimination of fossil fuels and use of alternative low-carbon options such as heat pumps, which would also provide cooling to the tenants, a critical human right as global heating takes off.

4. Learning and Events

Wetlands Awareness Tours – Aug. 6 & 20, Smiths Falls

Wetlands sequester 2-5 times more carbon than forests do so are critical to managing the climate crisis. REAL is offering a Voyageur Canoe tour of the Swale, an important local wetland. Take a tour around the Swale, a protected wetland on the west side of Smiths Falls. Leave with a much deeper appreciation for all that wetlands provide, and feel good knowing that we contributed to meaningful research. Tours take place in voyageur canoes which can accommodate up to 28 participants.

Tour Length: up to 1.5 hours
Times: 10:30 a.m. , 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Dates: Saturday August 6 Saturday, August 20
Cost: by donation

For more information and booking:
(613) 327-9018
rideauexperience@rideauroundtable.ca

5. Actions You Can Take

Shopping for an EV?

This great spreadsheet provided by the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa covers all the EVs available in the Ottawa area and is updated as needed. You can view this in Google Sheets here.

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