Stellarton, Trenton, Westville submit joint climate change plan

Amanda Jess
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Switch to LED lights part of plans for municipalities

TRENTON – Stellarton, Trenton and Westville are ready to tackle climate change.

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 

Organizations: Integrated Community Sustainability Plans, Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: Trenton, Stellarton, Active Pictou East River Twin Rivers Park Blue Acres

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Recent comments

  • Thomas Laprade
    December 23, 2013 - 00:38

    Climate change Recent research by Henrik Svensmark and his group at the Danish National Space Center points to the real cause of the recent warming trend. In a series of experiments on the formation of clouds, these scientists have shown that fluctuations in the Sun's output cause the observed changes in the Earth's temperature. In the past, scientists believed the fluctuations in the Sun's output were too small to cause the observed amount of temperature change, hence the need to look for other causes like carbon dioxide. However, these new experiments show that fluctuations in the Sun's output are in fact large enough, so there is no longer a need to resort to carbon dioxide as the cause of the recent warming trend. The discovery of the real cause of the recent increase in the Earth's temperature is indeed a convenient truth. It means humans are not to blame for the increase. It also means there is absolutely nothing we can, much less do, to correct the situation. Thomas Laprade

    • billybob
      December 23, 2013 - 11:46

      Thomas Laprade what you are spreading is nonsense. The real issue is POLLUTION and mankind IS to blame. The shift to discussion of climate change instead of disease causing pollution is a nice slight of hand. All the LED lights in the land cannot change the fact that burning coal is an environmental and health hazard that our politicians seem all to happy to ignore. You want to save energy... go to the source and make the power plants more energy efficient. A good start would be direct fired natural gas turbines. It is cheaper than coal (check google for Mbtu costs of coal versus natural gas), doable in the short term and immediately cuts our footprint in half. Yeah it likely makes too much sense and maybe we should be blocking the sun with dirtier coal plants and putting in larger LED lights so we can see....

  • mememine69
    December 22, 2013 - 17:31

    How many of you climate blame believers know you are condemning innocent children with a scientific consensus of nothing beyond; "could be" a crisis from Human CO2 and find us one IPCC warning that says; "will be" an inevitable crisis and isn't swimming in "maybes". Science has NEVER agreed it WILL, just could. YOU cannot tell children it WILL be a crisis for them, just could be.