Earlier this summer, the municipality declared a climate emergency, a move that other cities and municipalities—including Sarnia, have done in the past few months.
Bruce McAllister, Chatham-Kent’s director of planning, says the community development advisory committee was looking at the meeting as a first step to raise awareness and get the word to the community about their intentions moving forward.
“We’re just trying to provide a few lenses that council can maybe consider when they review the budget, does it meet climate action planning items,” McAllister says. “Next year, we’ll have a better framework of what are the things the community wants to achieve from a priorities standpoint, do we have the resources, what are the cost benefits, what is it going to take to it, and then council can make those decisions in the future.”
Gabriel Clarke, an environmental planner with Chatham-Kent, says part of the challenge with community engagement is speaking to people’s interests.
“What we really want to do is develop an innovative and effective strategy for engaging all the various segments of the population so we can integrate their input, find out what their interests are, and how we can align those interests with the goal of the plan, which is to build community resiliency and to lower the carbon intensity of Chatham-Kent.”
It will be a long process. The climate action plan is not expected to be presented to council until mid-2021.