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Hamilton councillors approve climate change response plan

The presentation of the city's climate change action plan follows a climate strike, which drew hundreds to Gore Park, in late September.
The presentation of the city's climate change action plan follows a climate strike, which drew hundreds to Gore Park, in late September. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

City councillors in Hamilton, Ont., have approved a plan of action for adapting to climate change.

The staff report, which was presented to the general issues committee on Wednesday, outlines a series of goals within nine “areas of focus” including infrastructure, transportation and the environment.

READ MORE: Hamilton’s board of health declares climate emergency

There are no deadlines or costs included in the report, which talks about things like increasing the amount of energy-efficient buildings in Hamilton and retrofitting existing buildings to meet energy-efficient guidelines.

It calls on the city to promote alternative transportation methods, increase the number of electric vehicle stations while adding electric vehicles to the city’s fleet, planting more trees and ensuring that future land development supports climate change mitigation.

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READ MORE: Hamilton climate strike in Gore Park draws hundreds

Hamilton declared a climate emergency in March and this is the first blueprint for local action.

Climate change and health.
Climate change and health.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger says it’s a complex piece of work that won’t get resolved in a year or two, but if we have a long term plan, he believes “we can get to the objectives that we’re hoping to achieve.”

READ MORE: Hamilton closes waterfront trails due to high water levels of Lake Ontario

Long-time environmental activist Don McLean, representing the group Hamilton 350, was one of more than two dozen delegates who presented their views to councillors on Wednesday.

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After nine months of preparation, he says the plan falls short of the kind of measures that “the original citizen out there is going to say, ‘oh, they’re serious!'”

McLean also reminded elected officials that the group will be holding them to account.

“We are your allies if you act … we are your critics if you don’t.”

Hamilton has been battered in recent years by the impacts of extreme weather, including erosion along the escarpment and waterfront flooding that has accompanied higher lake levels.

Flooding could become major issue as winter storm continues to pound southern Ontario
Flooding could become major issue as winter storm continues to pound southern Ontario