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Mississauga to Seek Public Input on 10-Year, $450-Million Climate Plan

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The City of Mississauga is going out for public comment on its draft of a 10-year, C$450-million climate plan aimed at cutting its greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.

The plan lays out five pathways for action, CBC reports [1]: buildings and clean energy; resilient and green infrastructure; accelerating discovery and innovation; low-emissions mobility; and engagement and partnerships.

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The plan “calls for solar panels on municipal buildings, electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city, an expansion of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, a greening of the city’s bus fleet, and a retrofit of all municipal buildings to be near net zero,” CBC says, while setting out an approach to sustainable transit that “means getting out of the car”. At present, “80% of all trips to, from, and within Mississauga are taken in a personal vehicle. The plan call for that number to drop to 50% by 2041.”

Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she was proud of the draft plan. “We believe it’s the moral, the ethical, and the right thing to do.” City staff are proposing to hold three open houses to gather public input on the plan, which passed a committee vote last week and goes to the full city council for approval later this month.

“We have a draft. We are taking it out. We want to know what people think. Is it too ambitious? Is it not ambitious enough? We want to hear from the public,” said the city’s climate change coordinator, Leya Barry. “We are going to take all that input, we’re going to put it into the draft, and then we’ll bring that draft back to council in December.”

Barry added that the plan combines measures to reduce Mississauga’s carbon footprint and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“We know that we are facing flooding, extreme heat, extreme wind, and ice storms,” she said. “We do have a long way to go. We need to get going on these actions and make sure that we are being ambitious, but we’re being realistic and achievable in what we are outlining.”

She cited tree planting as a step that both the city and individual residents can take. “The more trees we plant, the cooler the city gets, the more water we can retain, the less flooding risks we have, and there’s also a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions because the trees can absorb carbon,” she said. “That’s a win-win, or co-beneficial action.”

Amrita Daniere, vice-principal academic and dean of the University of Toronto Mississauga, cited the predominance of single-family homes as one of the challenges the city will face as it tries to decarbonize.

“Obviously, Mississauga grew as a suburb in the days when the car was king. The scale of development in Mississauga is really built around the automobile, which isn’t a sustainable form of transportation,” she said.

That means “things aren’t very dense. You have to travel a far distance to get to anywhere else.”

But now, “I think the economics are already driving Mississauga to adopt more sustainable patterns of development. They recognize, you know, the people who bought the houses there in the 70s, their children can’t afford to replicate living in those homes.”