CCKT Deputation to King Council on King’s Climate Action Plan

Mar 18, 2022

January 24, 2022

To:  Mayor Steve Pellegrini and Members of King Township Council

Re:  Item 8.1.  King Climate Action Plan

I’m writing on behalf of Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT) to provide initial comments and recommendations in response to the draft King Climate Action Plan.  Our thanks to Josh Welch and to staff supporting the research and writing of this plan and for Josh Welch’s inspiring and informative presentation in the King C.O.W. meeting this evening.

1.  It is very positive and encouraging to see King Township move forward in establishing both the King Corporate Energy Management Plan and the King Climate Action Plan (KCAP) focused on engaging the whole community in effective climate action.

King Township commitment to climate action is becoming more and more evident, from declaring a Climate Emergency in 2019, to specific actions in reducing energy use and GHG emissions in the past five years – building design and energy systems, transition to LED lights, etc.  While we have a long way to go, King has taken many positive steps forward in providing leadership in climate action.

2.  KCAP provides an excellent foundation and includes many forward-looking ideas across many sectors including transportation, natural heritage and home and building retrofits and construction.  We note that this plan essentially provides a framework for action, and there is a need for further details and work in how the ideas will be implemented, and what metrics will be used to measure progress and achievement towards the goals.  Specific strategic action plans are needed in detailing how to actually achieve measurable outcomes.

3.  Additional Time Required.  This is a very significant document, as it addresses one of the greatest global issues of this century.  It was just four days ago that Council and members of the public were first able to review the Action Plan.  While there is urgency in seeing this plan move forward, CCKT requests additional time for Council and members of the public to review the KCAP thoroughly, have discussions and respond with thoughtful comments and recommendations.  We would suggest a short period of additional time of two months maximum.

4.  Specific Recommendations: 

As mentioned earlier the KCAP covers a wide variety of sectors.  We will highlight a few specific observations and recommendations. 

Passive House Design Standards.

High building standards with a prime focus on “green building features” and the reduction of GHG emissions (CO2) need to be implemented quickly in the transition to net zero homes and buildings.  There is a lot of work to do in both retrofitting and in building houses for a net zero future.

CCKT recommends using Passive House Canada standards for all new builds and in renovations.  Reducing energy use is a fundamental step.

To support the transition from the use of fossil fuels in our homes CCKT recommends a program to phase out oil, gas and propane furnaces by actively promoting replacement with Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pumps.  We also recommend that all new home builds use these efficient heat pumps for both heating and cooling.  In addition, all new builds should include installation of conduit for one or two charging station(s) for EVs, plus a suitable level of electrical service to accommodate charging EVs and for Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pumps.

5.  Our Natural Assets.  

CCKT heartily supports the goals of restoration and preservation of natural heritage systems in King’s settlement areas and rural areas including the increase of the tree canopy.

Wetlands Protected and Improved.  

All wetlands need to be sustained and restored where possible, as they play a highly important role in sequestering carbon and mitigating the effects of extreme rain events and drought.  Look for opportunities to enhance existing wetlands.  Measurable outcomes can be established based on accurate up-to-date mapping of wetlands in King Township.

Protection of Trees and Increasing the Tree Canopy. 

The KCAP highlights the value of trees and promotes the action of increasing the tree canopy through ongoing plantings of trees in the villages and rural areas on both municipal and private lands.  This is very positive! However, there is currently significant loss of the tree canopy happening on an ongoing basis through tree removal particularly in King’s three Settlement Areas.  Mature healthy trees play a very significant role in mitigating climate change and the effects of extreme weather events – sequestering carbon, filtering the air of pollutants, absorbing water during heavy rain and retaining water through periods of drought, plus cooling the temperature on very warm days and reducing energy costs.  We need to preserve our trees for today and tomorrow.

CCKT recommends the crafting and swift implementation of an effective King Private Tree Protection By-law before more and more trees are lost.  While it is clear that a vast majority of residents are managing their trees well, due to the large turnover of properties for redevelopment and replacement homes in King City and Nobleton, and to some extent in Schomberg, the need for a private tree by-law is very evident.  Fees and costs could be tailored to address the needs of long term residents who may simply be replacing one tree compared to developers who are clear cutting whole properties even before a site plan application has been submitted.  An effective tree by-law can be designed carefully to accomplish specific climate action goals.

Monitoring of the canopy in the three villages and in the rural area, and progress in increasing the canopy can be carried out through satellite photos from years in the past and in future years.  Measurable goals can be set for King Township’s tree canopy.

6.  Partnership, Plus Rapid Implementation and Achievement of Goals Is Needed.  With rapid climate change happening now we are in an emergency situation and need action.  King Township knows how to do this.  We sight the example of the Vaccination Clinic at the Trisan Centre which was planned, setup, staffed and implemented in a matter of a few weeks.  What was beautiful about this were the partnerships established and the marvellous sense of teamwork – Township staff, medical personal, volunteers from the Fire Department and many devoted volunteers from the King Township community.  There was a lot achieved in a relatively short time. 

King Township can do the same with the climate emergency.  We will need strong focused leadership, committed resources in the way of funding and staff time, partnerships with community organizations such as Climate Action King, Concerned Citizens of King Township, King service groups, other King-based organizations and countless individuals.  There is a great talented pool of groups and individuals in King.  Let’s seek to engage everyone in the Action Plan. 

It is clear we can do what’s needed quickly and well.  Let’s roll up our sleeves with all hands on deck and move forward with the Action Plan.

Thank you to members of King Township Council and staff for listening and for your careful consideration of our comments and recommendations.

Sincerely, Bruce Craig,
on behalf of Concerned Citizens of King Township