A stylized cityscape of Waterloo Region with a map in the foreground.

TransformWR Endorsed by All Eight Municipal Councils in Waterloo Region

This post was originally published on ClimateActionWR’s blog and is republished here with permission. Reep Green Solutions is proud to be a lead organization of the ClimateActionWR collaborative alongside Sustainable Waterloo Region, and through valuable partnership with the eight municipalities in Waterloo Region.

Written by Mara Mackay

In June 2021, the ClimateActionWR collaborative brought the TransformWR long term strategy and short term plan to all eight area municipal councils. The TransformWR strategy outlines our community’s pathway to an 80% greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction by 2050, and identifies local actions that can be taken in Waterloo Region to reduce emissions 30% by 2030. In addition to endorsing the TransformWR strategy, all Councils passed an additional interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030 brought forth by local grassroots organization, 50by30WR. Bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will be required to reach this deeper reduction target.

These council meetings brought forth promise, encouragement, and an outpouring of support for both the TransformWR strategy and local climate action, as evidenced from the many, many delegates that spoke and submitted written comments at each and every Council meeting. Now that the strategy has been endorsed, and local government and the broader community alike has shown support for ambitious climate action, we can hit the ground running to achieve both our short and long term targets.


City of Waterloo – May 31, 2021

The City of Waterloo Special Council met on May 31, 2021. The delegates that spoke were Mat Thijssen, Sarah Ghorpade, and Lucas Mollame from Waterloo Sustainability Advisory Committee, Kai Reimer-Watts and Meg Ruttan Walker from 50by30WR, community member Mike Morrice, Shirley Irish and Henriette Thompson from Faith Climate Justice Network, Stephanie Goertz from Food System Roundtable of Waterloo Region, Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester, Guy Brodsky from Our Time KW, Bruce Taylor from Enviro-Stewards, and Lesley Johnston from Fossil Free UW. After hearing from delegations, all Councillors unanimously voted to approve the following recommendations:

  1. That Council approve report CAO2021-011.
  2. That Council endorse the attached TransformWR strategy, as the community climate change mitigation strategy for the City of Waterloo.
  3. That Council direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy. For the City of Waterloo this includes: i. Developing an implementation plan; and
    ii. Incorporating the strategy into strategic and business plans and the City of Waterloo’s budget process where applicable.
  4. That Council endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30% reduction by 2030, Council emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.
  5. That Council direct staff to advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR.
  6. That Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress.
  7. That Council direct that this report be submitted to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as the City of Waterloo’s community scope progress on the Partners for Climate Protection Program Milestones 1-3 as renewed.

“I think it is hard to understate how important the motion that is before us today and the strategy that’s before us today is. For the future that we are all trying to build for all of us, so that all of us can have the kind of equitable, prosperous, sustainable world that our parents and grandparents were able to experience. Our world necessarily is going to be different, it is already changing in ways that we need to work hard to arrest and correct. But it’s also changing in ways that give us all great hope that we can have a future that looks better tomorrow than it did today because we are working together to build that future for ourselves, for our children, for our grandchildren, for everybody that comes after and that starts here in Waterloo Region with all of us rolling up our sleeves together to take transformative actions that will change the way we move, the way we build and operate our spaces, the way we produce, consume and waste, and the ways that we relate to one another.”

– Coun. Jeff Henry, City of Waterloo

Township of Woolwich – June 1, 2021

On June 1, the Woolwich Township Committee of the Whole met. After hearing from delegates Bruce Taylor from Enviro-Stewards, Kai Reimer-Watts and Stephanie Goertz from 50by30WR and community member Sandra Bray, the Committee voted unanimously to pass all recommendations:

  1. Endorse the attached TransformWR strategy as the community climate change mitigation strategy for the Township of Woolwich;
  2. Direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy for the Township of Woolwich including the implementation of actions in the strategy subject to available funds and/or approved budget and appropriate human resources;
  3. Direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy;
  4. Advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR;
  5. Submit this report to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as the Township of Woolwich community scope progress on the Partners for Climate Protection Program Milestones 1-3 as renewed.
  6. Endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30% reduction by 2030, Council commits $100,000 from additional levy collection to support the community climate strategy and emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.

“Council commits $100,000 from additional levy collection to support the community climate strategy and emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.”

– Township of Woolwich

City of Cambridge – June 8, 2021

The City of Cambridge Special Council meeting was held June 8, 2021. Delegates that spoke were community member Randy Saad, Bruce Taylor from Enviro-Stewards, Scott Morton-Ninomiya from 50by30WR, and Lesley Johnston from Fossil Free UW. Councillors passed the following recommendations in a vote of 6 in favour to 2 opposed:

  1. THAT Report 21-141(CRE) be received;
  2. AND THAT the attached TransformWR strategy be endorsed;
  3. AND THAT Council direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy. For Cambridge, this direction includes that: the TransformWR strategy be referred to staff responsible for the City’s various strategies that incorporate sustainability initiatives for review;
  4. AND THAT staff responsible for these existing plans incorporate the TransformWR action items where appropriate into future business planning and/or budget processes;
  5. AND THAT Council recognizes that, although the TransformWR target of a 30% reduction in GHG emissions is laudable, with additional support from the Federal and Provincial governments, Cambridge should endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030, and strive for bolder and more immediate local actions to combat GHG emissions.
  6. AND THAT Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy;
  7. AND FURTHER THAT Cambridge advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformation outlined in TransformWR and the goal of a 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030.

“We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to show that we listen to established science, that we are progressive, and that we are able to act swiftly in the face of a global crisis by taking substantive local change now.”

– Coun. Scott Hamilton, City of Cambridge

Township of Wellesley – June 8, 2021

On June 8, 2021, the Wellesley Township Committee of the Whole met. The committee heard from delegates community member Jeff Quint, Kai Reimer-Watts from 50by30WR, Lyndsay Dajka and Betsey Daub from Nith Valley EcoBoosters, Stephanie Goertz from Food System Roundtable of Waterloo Region, Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester, and Doug Jones, former Board of Directors of OFA. The Committee unanimously voted in support of these recommendations:

  1. That the Council of the Township of Wellesley endorse the attached TransformWR
    strategy as the community climate change mitigation strategy for
    Wellesley Township.
  2. That Council direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to
    implement the strategy. For the Township of Wellesley this direction includes: Updating existing plans and developing plans to implement the strategy subject to available funds, resources, staffing and/or approved budget.
  3. That Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy.
  4. That the Township of Wellesley advocate for provincial and federal support and
    action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR.
  5. That Council endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions
    reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30% reduction by 2030, Council emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.

City of Kitchener – June 14, 2021

On June 14, 2021, the City of Kitchener Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee met. The Committee heard from delegates Devon Fernandes from KW Library of Things, Eric Hunsberger & Ron Hiller from Faith Climate Justice Network, Bruce Taylor from Enviro-Stewards, Gordon Nicholls from Friends of Hidden Valley, Scott Morton-Ninomiya and Meg Ruttan Walker from 50by30WR, Lesley Johnston from Fossil Free UW, community member Carol Burrows, Tanya Schmah from Divest UW, community member Mike Morrice, Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester, and community member Kai Reimer-Watts. The Committee then unanimously voted in support of these recommendations:

  1. That the attached TransformWR strategy be endorsed as the community climate change mitigation strategy for City of Kitchener; and,
  2. That Council endorses in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30% reduction by 2030, Council calls for bold and immediate action from the provincial and federal government to enable municipalities to reach this deeper reduction target; and,
  3. That staff be directed to develop detailed plans to implement the TransformWR strategy and report back on any funding implications through future budget processes; and,
  4. That staff be directed to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy; and, that the City of Kitchener advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR; and,
  5. That an FTE be added to support Kitchener Utilities with developing, and implementing, a Kitchener Utilities Low-Carbon Sustainable Business Strategy that will support the transition to reduce greenhouse gases; and further,
  6. That this report be submitted to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as the City of Kitchener’s community scope progress on the Partners for Climate Protection Program Milestones 1-3 as renewed.

“I think this is a body of work that has been boldly prepared by many community partners, it’s had extensive community consultation and this community has exhibited, continually for many decades, leadership, going back to when the blue box starts in the City of Kitchener many decades ago. And I think it is incumbent on us to have that same kind of definitive leadership as we go into this next step.”

– Coun. Berry Vrbanovic, Region of Waterloo

Township of North Dumfries – June 14, 2021

Later on June 14, the North Dumfries Township Committee of the Whole met. The Committee heard from delegates Kai Reimer-Watts and Meg Ruttan Walker from 50by30WR, Stephanie Goertz from Food System Roundtable of Waterloo Region, and Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester. The Committee then unanimously approved the recommendations:

  1. THAT Council receives the presentation from Mary Jane Patterson, Executive Director, Reep Green Solutions, and Tova Davidson, Executive Director, Sustainable Waterloo Region, with thanks;
  2. AND THAT Council receives CAO Report No. 15-2021;
  3. AND THAT Council endorse the framework and over-arching principles of the TransformWR documentation, received June 14th, 2021, as the community climate change mitigation strategy for the Township;
  4. AND THAT Council provides direction to the Chief Administrative Officer that across the organization the requirement to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy. For the Township this includes:
    • developing an implementation plan and priorities;
    • incorporating the strategy into strategic and business plans, and, the budget process where applicable
  5. AND THAT the Township advocate for Provincial and Federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR documentation;
  6. AND THAT Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress;
  7. AND THAT this Report be submitted to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as the Township’s community scope progress on the Partners for Climate Protection Program Milestones 1-3 as renewed.
  8. AND THAT Council endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30% reduction by 2030, Council emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.

Township of Wilmot – June 14, 2021

The Wilmot Township Council met on June 14. The Council heard from delegates Lyndsay Dajka and Betsey Daub from Nith Valley EcoBoosters, Marie Perry from Let’s Tree Wilmot, Lisa Clifford from Wilmot Horticultural Society, Andres Fuentes from 50by30WR, community member Becky Voll, Stephanie Goertz from Food System Roundtable of Waterloo Region, and Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester. Council voted to endorse the following recommendations unanimously:

  1. THAT the attached TransformWR strategy be  endorsed as the community climate change mitigation strategy for the Township of  Wilmot; and further,
  2. THAT Council direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy, subject to available funding and resource allocations; and further,
  3. THAT Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy; and further,
  4. THAT the Township of Wilmot advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in the TransformWR strategy; and  further,
  5. THAT Council endorse, in principle, an interim absolute community Greenhouse Gas emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030. Recognizing that the bold and immediate local actions in the attached TransformWR strategy are expected to achieve a 30%  reduction by 2030, Council emphasizes that bold and immediate actions from the provincial and federal government will also be required to reach this deeper reduction target.

“We have the potential for 44% collaborative impact with our municipal partners here. I don’t think that’s a spectator sport for us. I’m all in! That’s 630,000 people that we represent today, and tomorrow it’s 900,000. So I do think that this is something we are heavily involved in and engaged in as stakeholders to help support it through the greater community.”

– Coun. Helen Jowett, Region of Waterloo

Region of Waterloo – June 22, 2021

The final council presentation was the Region of Waterloo Committee of the Whole on June 22, 2021. There were many delegates that spoke before the Committee, community member Jenny (Yao) Zhou, young community member Aiden Morton-Ninomiya, Karly Rath from Laurier Student’s Public Interest Research Group, community member Monika Wagner, Carol Burrows and Nolan Andres from Faith Climate Justice Network, community member Alex Latta, Scott Morton-Ninomiya and Meg Ruttan Walker from 50by30WR, Guy Brodsky from Our Time KW, community member Laura Hamilton, Alisa McClurg from KW Urban Harvester, Gordon Nicholls from Friends of Hidden Valley, Bruce Taylor from Enviro-Stewards, community member Kai Reimer-Watts, Lyndsay Dajka and Betsey Daub from Nith Valley EcoBoosters, Stephanie Goertz from Food System Roundtable of Waterloo Region. The Councillors from across the Waterloo Region voted unanimously in favour of the recommendations subject to additional financial analysis and budgetary approval:

  1. That the attached TransformWR strategy be endorsed, as the community climate change mitigation strategy for the Regional Municipality of Waterloo;
  2. That Council direct staff across the organization to develop detailed plans to implement the strategy. For the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, this direction includes:
    • Updating existing plans and developing new plans to implement the actions assigned to the Region, in the attached strategy, and further consult on the implementation of the 6 Transformative Changes outlined in the strategy;
    • Developing a detailed corporate climate change plan to transition the Region off of fossil fuels as a corporation and as a community service provider, built collaboratively among departments and divisions and including interim and long-term targets; and
    • Considering the broad direction of the TransformWR strategy as interim guidance from Council on expectations for current and upcoming work, while plans for full corporate and community implementation are being completed;
  3. That Council direct staff to work with local partners on implementation, monitoring, and reporting progress on the goals outlined in the strategy; and
  4. That the Regional Municipality of Waterloo advocate for provincial and federal support and action to achieve the community transformations outlined in TransformWR

And in a second vote, the Committee evaluated and passed the following additional climate action amendment with a vote of 14 in favour and 1 opposed.

  1. Therefore be it resolved that the Region of Waterloo endorse in principle an interim absolute community GHG emission reduction target of 50% reduction below 2010 levels by 2030 (50×30).
  2. And advocate through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and directly to the Province and advocate through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and directly to the Federal Government to provide the necessary policies, initiatives and funding to accomplish this goal in our community.
  3. And that copies of this resolution will be forwarded to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of Ontario, all area MPs and MPPs, AMO and FCM.
  4. And that progress towards this objective be reported publicly, biannually in a regional council meeting and concurrently with progress reports on the TransformWR plan.

More information from each Council and Committee meeting can be found on each municipality’s website with the relevant links sourced below:

Municipality Date Agenda Video Minutes
Waterloo May 31 Agenda 
Package
Video (begins at 33:25) Minutes
Woolwich June 1 Agenda Video (begins at 25:05) Minutes
Cambridge June 8 Agenda
Addendum
Video (begins at 2:11:41) Minutes
Wellesley June 8 Agenda
Addendum
Video (begins at 8:22) Minutes
Kitchener June 14 Agenda Video (begins at 1:20:48) Minutes
North Dumfries June 14 Agenda
Addendum
Video (begins at 3:33) Minutes
Wilmot June 14 Agenda Video (begins at 1:31:47) Minutes
Region of Waterloo June 22 Agenda Video (begins at 39:25) Minutes

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