The Peterborough Examiner
April 30, 2013
By; Galen Eagle

A biogas facility at the Smith Landfill site, a revitalization of the Asphodel-Norwood farmers’ market, a rooftop solar system on the Ennismore Community Centre and a master trails plan for Selwyn Township are among the ideas proposed by Sustainable Peterborough for 2013.

A little more than a year after Peterborough city council endorsed the initiative, the group has released its 2012 report card, highlighting a plethora of sustainable initiatives in the city, county and neighbouring First Nations communities.

From Peterborough Green Up’s home weatherization program to Transition Town’s annual Purple Onion Festival to Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre’s $12,000 battery drive to the city’s renewable energy initiative to install solar panels on the roofs of rental buildings, Sustainable Peterborough has documented an impressive list of local sustainability initiatives. A snapshot of those projects can be found in the 2012 report card. Many more are listed at: sustainablepeterborough.ca.

“It tells us that there is broad community involvement and engagement across the region and that it’s gaining momentum,” city community services director Ken Doherty said.

“We see this report card as very much our foundation report card and we anticipate that each time we come back to the various councils…they will see considerable progress.”

The plan cost about $450,000 to put together with $80,000 from the city, $200,000 from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, $128,975 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, $29,000 from the province’s Rural Secretariat and $20,000 from the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough. Peterborough County is contributing $30,000 for the joint city-county program.

The idea is that the city, the county and two area First Nations communities can pull suggested actions from the plan that fit the goals of their communities. The plan defines what a sustainable Peterborough area will look like for the next generation.

Last year the city introduced a low-flow toilet rebate program and was so overwhelmed by the response it has continued the program for the second straight year, Doherty said. The city provided more than 900 $50 rebates through the program.

“The money that was available for that program was scooped up very quickly. It was so successful that we have repeated the program again this year and some of the neighbouring townships are looking at it,” Doherty said.

The city is now looking at replacing its current street lights with high efficiency LED lighting.

The project is scheduled to seek budget approval for 2014. Peterborough’s cobra head street lights would be replaced in the first phase followed by decorative street lighting.

“There will be a huge savings as a result of that. Our neighbouring townships are awaiting with great anticipation because they don’t want to have to re-invent the wheel by going through their own process,” Doherty said.

One of the biggest benefits of the Sustainable Peterborough plan is it maintains pressure on local governments to see sustainability as a priority, Doherty added.

“Sustainable Peterborough has helped keep the focus on those types of things. If you’re caught up in the day-to-day activities of running a particular program … energy efficiency and things like that may not be a high priority,” he said. “This at least keeps it in the limelight. We keep the pressure on and we have that opportunity to work together and for those that are just starting, they don’t have to re-invent the wheel.”

galen.eagle@sunmedia.ca