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Report on climate change reserve coming, despite councillor's objection

Coun. Ralph Cipolla wanted to wait until feds provided details of funding for municipalities
2019-09-27 Orillia climate strike 14
A demonstrator holds a sign during a climate strike in Orillia in 2019. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters file photo

A city councillor made an unsuccessful bid Monday to quash a staff report regarding the creation of a climate change reserve.

During the council meeting, Coun. Ralph Cipolla reiterated his position from last week’s council committee meeting — that now is not the time to create a reserve to arm the city with money to tackle climate change on a local level.

“Climate change is important to us, but I think with this COVID-19, we have a staff that’s really busy and we can use all the money to help our citizens get over this …” he said.

Mayor Steve Clarke pointed out the report simply directed staff to look into the feasibility of creating the reserve.

“I don’t believe your question around funding is relevant to this particular decision,” he told Cipolla.

Coun. Mason Ainsworth noted creating a reserve doesn’t mean money has to be put into it; it’s just there if needed.

“That’s a completely different conversation,” he said.

“The key word here is feasibility … and I’ll never block anything that says feasibility,” added Coun. Pat Hehn.

Cipolla said he spoke with someone at Queen’s Park who said upper levels of government will be making funding available for climate change action at the municipal level. He felt the city should wait for details about that funding before creating a reserve.

Coun. Ted Emond, however, said it should be the other way around.

“We know from past experience that those communities that have planned and are ready to move forward and also have funding set aside for the municipal share typically are looked at more favourably than those communities that don’t,” he said.

Council approved the motion, with Cipolla being the only one to vote against it.

Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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