Sarnia shows some progress on climate action plan report card

City of Sarnias sunshine list count decreases again

Shoreline protection and sewer separation work, using pre-coated salt to reduce runoff into waterways, and a planned flooding mitigation education campaign are among the City of Sarnia climate change action plan initiatives.

About a year after city council endorsed the plan — aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating flooding, bolstering the natural environment and preparing for emergencies — a report card shows the city is making headway on about two-thirds of its targets.

It’s still early days in the implementation plan, city engineering and operations general manager David Jackson said.

“But overall I think we’re happy we’re making progress on many of the initiatives and starting to strategize for some of those longer-term ones.”

A fleet management strategy that looks at converting to electric nozzles could also include electric lawn mowers, Jackson said.

The city is also looking at ways for rainwater to be collected on properties rather than be diverted into sewers where — in the case of major storms — it can lead to flooding, he said.

“The general term often used is called low-impact development,” he said, citing rain gardens and adding staff plan to review how Sarnia’s requirements for development compare to those in other cities.

City staff are working with property owners in the Coronation Park area, trying to determine what led to major flooding last August.

The recent switch to pre-coated road salt has reduced runoff and costsJackson said.

“It actually performs better, so it improves the safety,” he said.

“It’s a good example of little continuous improvements we can do that have a positive environmental impact.”

A $169,000 contract awarded to Momentum Transport Consultancy for an active transportation master plan will address targets for increasing public transit ridership, and create awareness about greenhouse gas emissions reduction, Jackson said.

There are things that will take years to achieve, such as sewer separation work that’s expected to take another 20 years to finish, Jackson said.

Other items in a city report include a natural areas management plan, an invasive species management strategy, a green infrastructure strategy that includes two electric ice resurfacers for the 2024 budget, and training for extreme weather events.

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