The City of Cornwall is expected to establish a new environment and climate change committee by this fall to find ways for the municipality and residents to reduce their impact on the environment.
At Monday’s city council meeting, city administrators said they will be working through the summer to come up with the new committee’s structure and scope. The plan is to have some kind of public consultation on the committee’s mission before submitting a final proposal to city council this September.
Coun. Carilyne Hebert, who proposed creating the climate change committee, said she is pleased with the proposed timeline, but did push to have the public consultation held during the summer so the committee could be formed quickly and hit the ground running this fall.
Hebert moved the new climate change and environment committee be created back in March, shortly after council decided to eliminate a large number of seemingly unnecessary and defunct committees. One of the bodies disbanded was the municipal environmental advisory council.
“Several committees exist to deal with a specific issue, and once it has been dealt with it sort of disappears, but climate change isn’t gone. So we wanted to make sure that committee came back in some shape or form,” explained Hebert. “So what we are looking to do now is to bring something back along those same lines, but with a different mandate more centred around climate change, but also other environmental concerns.”
While Hebert plans to be deeply involved in the crafting of the committee this summer, she noted what the body’s mandate will be is not up to her. But if she could have her way, she would want it to do an internal assessment on what the City of Cornwall’s impact on climate change is as a corporation and make recommendations on how to reduce it.
“Also, it should look at how we as a community – residents and all – are affecting climate change and how can we change that. So it would have kind of a two-fold mission,” she said.
Community environmental groups are already being asked for input on the new committee, and the city is looking at what similar committees in other communities are doing as well.
There is also a national climate change council that has been created by municipal leaders across Canada that Hebert thinks the committee can take some queues from.
“We are not the first community to do this, so we are not trying to reinvent the wheel,” she said.
Editor’s note: The Standard-Freeholder will be examining each of the five key priorities chosen by Cornwall city council at its recent strategic planning meeting. We start this series by looking at environmental sustainability.