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Energy-savings study gets nod

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Council has directed the town’s sustainability co-ordinator intern to get started on an integrated community sustainability plan (ICSP), taking a step forward to possibly accessing “green” funding for local projects.

Council passed a resolution last week, upon recommendation from the Community Services executive committee.

A report from Community Services manager George Bell noted the completion of an ICSP will provide the town “with a more complete document and opens the door to greater access to senior government funding opportunities.”

But his report also added “it is a more complex process involving community stakeholders and will require significantly more time and resources” than a plan focused strictly on town buildings.

As such, Bell explained the Community Services executive committee recommended sustainability co-ordinator intern Travis Rob focus on the completion of a corporate sustainability plan (which would focus on the town), then apply to the Green Municipal Fund for dollars to complete the community portion of the ICSP.

“I also understand that the funding usually takes between six and nine months, so that way we’ll have a corporate plan in place and be able to move on these energy projects while we complete the community portion of the plan,” Bell wrote.

As previously reported, thanks to a one-year internship funded by a Ontario Northern Heritage Fund Corp. grant, Rob is working on a plan that will focus on:

•reducing energy consumption within town-owned buildings and systems;

•co-ordinating energy retrofit projects;

•improving preventive maintenance programs for all buildings; and

•the possibility of electrical energy upgrades within some town-owned buildings.

The plan also will explore micro-FIT solar generating systems where the town will sell power back to the province.

“What the community is trying to do is move more in the way of taking advantage of some of the funding for the community initiatives out there,” said Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig.

“We’re looking at our buildings, we’re trying to make them more energy-efficient,” he noted.

“We’re looking at all kinds of different scenarios, be they solar panels or just the way our buildings are heated or lighted.”

But the entire ICSP is going to be a bigger process, conceded McCaig, adding it will involve the corporation going one step further and meeting with stakeholders to try and make Fort Frances a more sustainable community—and realize some of the government funding for certain projects.

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