Greater Sudbury declares a climate change emergency

With little debate, city councillors in Greater Sudbury have passed an emergency motion on climate change.

Motion passed at city council on Tuesday

Crews battle a forest fire south of Sudbury in 2018. Sudbury city council has passed a motion declaring a climate change emergency. (Fred Thornhill/Canadian Press)

With little debate, city councillors in Greater Sudbury have passed an emergency motion on climate change.

The motion, put forward by councillors Deb McIntosh, Geoff McCausland and Al Sizer was presented at a city council meeting packed with supporters of the motion on Tuesday night.

"The world is changing," McCausland said.

"And to my understanding is that it's going to be changing faster than we'll be ready for. The brunt of many of those changes will be felt most on the local level and municipalities will be the first responders of many of the challenges to come."

The motion states city staff will now create a report that "describes an approach for creating a Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation Plan" which will include a plan to reduce carbon emissions and pollution, encourage public transportation and create a system for "energy utilization and carbon reduction."

However, some councillors expressed concern about how the motion could affect new development.

Coun. Mark Signoretti says the city's plans for the Kingsway Entertainment District create more problems for the environment.

"Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions doesn't indicate moving things more outward, it says more urban, keeping everything more central," he said.

"For the KED project, it's telling everybody to get into their vehicles and create more greenhouse gas emissions when we're trying to protect our environment."

'We can do this'

Coun. Deb McIntosh says steps will be taken to address those concerns.
"I would hope that any of our new buildings will be green buildings," she said. "And that their carbon footprint will be reduced through new technologies."

Coun. Mike Jakubo says action needs to be taken now.

"What you can't deny and nobody can deny are the results that we just seen in this past year," he said.

"We have seen more snow in the past winter in our city than ever before. We are seeing flooding in our city in places we've never seen it before. These are all the effects of climate change."

Ward 7 city councillor Mike Jakubo (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

He added it makes sense for Sudbury to pass a motion like this as the city is no stranger to addressing climate change.

"Our re-greening process that our city has gone through in the last 40 years … has been an example to the world of how we can reclaim our clean air in this city," he said.

"We did that. We can do this as well."

The motion was passed unanimously.

With files from Jamie-Lee McKenzie


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