Manitoba

Mayoral hopeful Shaun Loney wants to make Winnipeg a leader in solar power

A Winnipeg mayoral candidate believes the city could become a leader in solar power if he gets elected this fall.

New city buildings, renovations would be required to incorporate solar energy, Loney says

Mayoral candidate Shaun Loney says he wants to make Winnipeg a leader in solar power. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Thousands of solar panel systems will be installed on city-owned buildings and on homes and businesses if Shaun Loney is elected this fall, the Winnipeg mayoral candidate says.

"Winnipeg has a fantastic solar resource. We're losing thousands of young people to other cities on an annual basis," he said in an interview Friday.

"These things all come together: affordability, job creation, and it's also good for the environment."

The labour to install the panels would create a "green job revolution," said Loney, one of 14 mayoral candidates in this fall's civic election.

He plans to require any new city project or renovation to incorporate solar power.

Under his plan, residents and business owners could lease large panels in exchange for a credit on their utility bills, a step that would have to be agreed upon by Manitoba Hydro, a provincial Crown corporation.

Loney founded a handful of environment and social-focused businesses, including Aki Energy — a First Nations-managed non-profit that employs people who have trouble finding work to build things like homes and energy infrastructure.

He said he'd work with Manitoba Hydro on the best ways to secure and install the panels.

He also said the city would work with the federal government, which offers grants for some energy-efficiency renovations, to help Winnipeggers finance their own personal solar energy systems.

"I've won awards for creating green jobs in the city, and it's been immensely frustrating for me to see city hall treating green energy as though it's going to cost money," said Loney.

"With modern financing tools and new approaches, we'll be able to lean into saving Winnipeggers money."

He also promised to buy the equipment in bulk, negotiate with the federal and provincial governments to get financial incentives, and give residents financing options that would let them pay for the equipment as they use it.

A city document that lays out why Winnipeg should reach net zero emissions by 2050 says green industries can create thousands of jobs, Loney pointed out in a news release.

"The great news is that the shift from fossil fuels to local job-creating renewable options creates jobs, and with modern financing tools, there are net savings right from the start," his news release said.

"City hall has been acting as though tax dollars are required to make the shift. What's needed is new thinking." 

Former health minister endorses Bokhari

Loney's rivals in the mayoral race include former Manitoba Liberal leader Rana Bokhari, who got an endorsement Friday from another former provincial politician.

Sharon Blady, who was the MLA for Kirkfield Park from 2007 until 2016, is throwing her support behind Bokhari, who was the Liberal leader from 2013 to 2016 but never held a seat in the Manitoba Legislature.

Blady was also a health minister under the former NDP government.

"She and I both know the obstacles faced by those with mental health and acquired dependency challenges, and she is the candidate I trust to deliver what is needed," Blady said in a Friday press release.

"Rana has been talking with so many people and groups about this over the past several weeks, and I'm excited for her to release her plan shortly."

The other candidates in the race to become Winnipeg's next mayor are Idris Adelakun, Chris Clacio, Scott Gillingham, Kevin Klein, Jenny Motkaluk, Glen Murray, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Jessica Peebles, Rick Shone, Govind Thawani, Desmond Thomas and Don Woodstock.

The civic election, including council and school board elections, is Oct. 26.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam Samson

Journalist

Sam Samson is a senior reporter for CBC News, based in Regina. She's a multimedia journalist who has also worked for CBC in Winnipeg and Sudbury. You can get in touch on Twitter @CBCSamSamson or email samantha.samson@cbc.ca.

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