Cooling the Air

Angela Parker, Sustainability Project Coordinator, City of Cornwall
Cooling the Air
Members of Cornwall’s Youth for Climate Action Working Group celebrate after adding native plants to their funded pollinator garden located at the Benson Centre. Pictured l to r – Dolev Klein, Anita Bedi, Abdul Khan, Haeley Njihia, and Yasmine Reda. (Photo : submitted photo)

Thanks to funding from the Youth Climate Action Summit and Frontenac Arc Biosphere, Cornwall’s Youth for Climate Action Working Group (YFCA) were able to create a native plant garden at the Benson Centre. Members of YFCA were joined by John and Susan Towndrow of Transition Cornwall+, who helped design the garden. Representatives from the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) and the City’s Environment and Climate Change Committee lent a hand. Councillor Denis Sabourin was also in attendance to show his support for the youth’s hard work and their commitment to the environment.

Another new native plant garden was recently added to Mattice Park. This garden, also designed by John and Susan Towndrow, and the RRCA, features edible trees and shrubs including black elderberry, American plum, and pagoda dogwood. Crabapple and paw-paw trees will be added later this year. Just south of this garden, you will be able to see eight newly planted trees, including hackberry and paper birch. These trees and the garden were funded by Tree Canada and the LCBO.

Adding more greenery to the urban landscape increases biodiversity and helps cool the hot summer air, creating healthier outdoor spaces. Educational signage will be included at both new gardens this summer.

The City has been working hard to meet the goals of its Climate Action Plan (CAP). This includes phasing out gas-powered light-duty fleet to electric vehicles (EVs). Two 4-door midsize cars and two passenger multifunction vans have recently been replaced with the Kia Niro. The Niro is a compact crossover SUV that has been manufactured by Kia since 2016.

Next year, eight gas-powered passenger vehicles will be replaced with EVs. More combustion engine vehicles, including the City’s pickup trucks, will be replaced with EVs, as they are due for lifecycle replacement. The City continues to explore electric options for other equipment, such as ice resurfacing machines, street sweepers, and forklifts. Moving to electric will help reduce the City’s carbon footprint.

Another goal of the CAP is to investigate the potential to implement a home energy loan program. The City is currently reviewing the possibility. Municipally led home energy loan programs currently exist in Kingston, Ottawa, Guelph, Toronto, and Burlington.

Lastly, the Tree Bylaw survey has closed, but engagement will continue this summer with a virtual presentation and an in-person open house in July. Dates to be determined.

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