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Report from Mayor Sandy Shantz

The UN Climate Action Summit and the youth-led Climate Strike has me thinking about Township initiatives to improve our carbon footprint.

First, you should know that the Township Strategic Plan (which was developed with community input, to guide our priorities) has a keen focus on environmental stewardship, water conservation, and energy efficiency.  Our Township Green Team, comprised of members from each of our core function areas, meets regularly to review conservation initiatives and progress.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn how much has already been accomplished and the various other great initiatives that are still being rolled out. There is much more than I have space for here.

Installing LED lighting in our three ice pads has reduced our annual usage by 366,343 kilowatts alone, for an estimated annual savings of $87,196.  We’ve replaced streetlights, park lights, and lobby and office lights, all of which make an impact on our energy usage; by the end of this year, the Admin. Building is scheduled to be retrofitted.  Remaining park and parking lot lights will be staged in the next few years.

All levels of government in the Region have committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 80% by 2050, compared to 2010 levels.  To help us measure the impact of the changes we make, we’ve enlisted the help of Sustainable Waterloo Region who, along with REEP Green Solutions, provide resources to industry and residents regarding environmental projects and their impacts.

We estimate our reductions from 2010 to 2015 at 235,935 tonnes, which is equivalent to over 50,000 cars!

We’ve also made changes to improve the efficiency of our water use; the Splash Pad’s usage should be reduced by 30% or more with the installation of sequencing spray features.  Motion-sensor faucets and heat loop pumps help reduce water consumption.

Two planned projects include the installation of a geothermal field and heat pump system at the WMC and a cogeneration project that will reduce electricity consumption and reclaim heat.

A commentary on climate action wouldn’t be complete without mention of the Township of Woolwich Environmental Enhancement Committee (TWEEC) and the amazing work these volunteers do to “green” our Township and enhance our tree canopy.  TWEEC is doing some replanting in the Southpark Woods forest area after the removal of over 750 dead and dying ash trees.  Check them out and join their group!

We each do our part to help out, and there is much more that could be said about Township initiatives.  Our combined efforts make a difference.

Let’s preserve this beautiful planet we call home.

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