Switch to LED lights part of plans for municipalities
TRENTON – Stellarton, Trenton and Westville are ready to tackle climate change.
© AMANDA JESS - THE NEWS
Roland Burek, town planner, sits in front of a federal and provincial flood risk map for areas surrounding the East River in his office in Trenton. Burek was chair of the committee that put together the joint Municipal Climate Change Action Plan.
Roland Burek, planner for all three towns, submitted a joint Municipal Climate Change Action Plan this past week to the province, as part of the federal and provincial agreement on the transfer of gas tax revenues.
“Five years ago, municipalities had to adopt Integrated Community Sustainability Plans,” Burek said.
This is an amendment to that and allows municipalities to keep receiving federal funds for environmentally sustainable infrastructure projects.
Each town approved the draft at their own council meetings.
The plan identifies issues and hazards that could arise from climate change, people and places that would be affected, implications as well as ways to adapt and mitigate.
The mitigation aspect involves reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“It’s a very critical part,” Burek said, adding that the plan is not just about the short-term reactions to climate change.
There are many projects in the works to reduce energy in the three towns. One of those is replacing existing street lighting with LED lights.
Stellarton and Westville both have partnerships with Nova Scotia Power for that process.
In Trenton’s case, they’re working with Pictou and the municipality on a request for proposals.
Trenton has 370 lights to replace.
The tender hasn’t gone out yet, so the exact cost is unclear.
Chief Administrative Officer Cathy MacGillivray says they’re estimating a cost of $1.2 million over 20 years, which will include the purchase of the lights, energy costs and maintenance.
She expects residents to see a savings in taxes from the first year it’s in place.
“There’s no estimated capital costs until year eight.”
One of the other planned projects includes encouraging non-motorized transportation. Westville Recreation is working with Active Pictou County to develop trails in the area, while Trenton is looking to identify bike lanes in 2014.
“It’s meant to get municipalities and people thinking,” Burek said about the plan, adding that it allows for ideas to form about reducing one’s carbon footprint.
The plan also identifies the areas most likely to experience issues through climate change. Stellarton has experienced flooding in the past due to the East River.
Federal and provincial governments mapped out flood risk areas in the 1980’s, but the plan acknowledges that this area could have increased and may need updating.
The East River Intervale, which Bridge Ave. runs through, is prone to flooding. Businesses along this street and residents in the Twin Rivers Park area could be affected.
The town also identified isolation of the Blue Acres area as a potential risk with sea level rise and flooding.
“Raising the levels of bridges is one possibility,” Burek said.
In Trenton, the land by Lowden’s Brook and Smelt Brook has flooded in the past, as well as experienced riverbank erosion. Homes around the ball field could also be at risk during a severe flood.
Westville’s low-lying areas are prone to flooding, especially near the sewage holding facility.
The mobile home park on Union Street could see problems as well as land from the water reservoir to Bear Brook.
Although flooding is of the highest priority, the plan also looks at the possibility of drought, hurricanes, erosion, and extreme cold and the potential reaction in those events.
With most potential risks, the plan says the towns range from well prepared to fairly well prepared.
The deadline for the plan is Dec. 31. Burek expects to hear back about it early next year. He’s received positive feedback so far and believes the province will accept it.
On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda