First step in Saskatoons lowemissions plan up for funding decision

Tank: Saskatoon emissions plan shows steep climate challenge Saskatoon business community skeptical of $19B low-emissions plan City council’s commitment to a controversial $19-billion plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions will be tested today.Council’s governance and priorities committee, which includes all councillors and the mayor, will be asked to consider spending $1.4 million over the next two years to start implementing the plan.Last month, city hall released a four-phase plan with 40 separate initiatives intended to reduce emissions in the community — and by the City of Saskatoon as a corporation — by 80 per cent of 2014 levels over the next three decades.The plan comes with a $19-billion price tag without funding sources identified, but it is projected to eventually result in $33 billion in savings for a net gain of $14 billion.“Taking a proactive approach to climate mitigation infrastructure decreases the risk for emergency or unplanned spending as a consequence of climate change,” says a city report to be considered at today’s meeting.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.The report recommends spending $435,000 next year and $987,000 in 2021 on initiatives that mostly entail planning.Measures included in this approach range from an incentive plan to encourage energy efficient buildings to a strategy to develop renewable energy options.Delaying implementation of the plan beyond 2021 could cost more, the report says.“Accelerating the plan after 2021 is an option, but it becomes more challenging and possibly more costly as the cumulative effect over time of the early initiative is lost with each year of minimal or no action,” says the report, which was written by the city’s sustainability project manager, Hilary Carlson.On Monday, council is also expected to decide on a list of other spending options for the city’s first two-year budget, covering years 2020 and 2021.The administration is not backing any new spending in either of the two years — despite several initiatives council has approved in principle — after a directive from council to lower the projected property tax increase.The property tax increase target for the two years now sits at 3.23 per cent in 2020 and 3.54 per cent in 2021 with final approval set for November.“Limited funding options are currently available,” the report says of money for the low-emissions plan.Separate reports to be considered today detail that $4.1 million is potentially available from a one-time allocation of federal gas tax money of $14.1 million. The other $10 million is committed to funding an organic waste collection program.The city also estimates $4.4 million will be available in a reserve fund for capital projects for which a number of potential candidates are outlined.Earlier this month, council’s environment, utilities and corporate services committee endorsed moving forward with preliminary parts of the plan and consulting residents on it by a 4-1 vote.Council has yet to officially endorse the greenhouse gas emissions plan, but a vote is expected Aug. 26. The plan includes several initiatives, some of which have drawn skepticism, including eventual mandatory solar panels on new homes, more electric vehicles and the purchase of more renewable [email protected]/thinktankSKRelated

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