Town of Goderich declares climate emergency

Councillors voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency on Monday night.

Goderich will work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on a climate plan

Town officials are expected to complete a climate action plan over the next six to eight weeks, according to Goderich Mayor John Grace. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

Councillors in Goderich, Ont. voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency on Monday night. 

"It's a very historical and very significant decision," said the town's mayor, John Grace. "This is something that we didn't take lightly, but we recognize that we are in a climate emergency across the world." 

The decision means Goderich joins more than 1,000 other municipalities around the world that have declared a climate emergency including London, Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham-Kent, Tecumseh and Essex County.

Grace says Goderich faces a number of climate challenges as a municipality along the shores of Lake Huron including erosion problems and rising water levels.

Last month, the town spent more than $1 million to protect its water treatment plant from increasing erosion and rising lake levels. 

It's expected water levels at Lake Huron this year will surpass the record set in 1986, according to The Maitland Valley Conservation Authority.

Next steps

Under the declaration, the town will work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to create and set goals to tackle climate change over the next few years. 

Grace says that while it's too early to know what those goals will be, he hopes a climate action plan can be finalized over the next six to eight weeks.

In the meantime, the town has already made efforts to be more environmentally friendly including the recent addition of two electric vehicles in its fleet.

"We look through an environmental lens when we do make larger purchases or developments, whether it's buildings that the municipality may be building or whether it's new vehicles," Grace said.

About the Author

Alvin Yu

CBC staff

Alvin Yu splits his time along the 401 corridor as a reporter for CBC London, and associate producer for CBC Toronto and The National. Yu set his sights on journalism early - as a kid he would anchor the news in the shower, hoping one day to make it to the big screen.