The Mayor’s Roundtable on Climate Change plans to seek an annual budget of $125,000 including money to hire a full-time co-ordinator.
During Monday’s Sackville Town Council meeting, retired wildlife biologist Richard Elliot said the Roundtable has already benefited from the work of a summer student.
But he said it now needs professional help to pursue priority projects such as reviewing existing municipal climate change plans, developing links with other municipalities, revising the climate change “lens” it uses to advise the town on its spending and developing training for new councillors.
“We’d like to hire a dedicated staff person who’s an expert on climate change to enable us to keep on moving in this direction,” Elliot said.
He asked the town to contribute seed money to help the Roundtable raise most of its funds from other sources such as the federal departments of environment and natural resources, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund.
Elliot, who serves on the Mayor’s Roundtable with about 30 other members, said the group hasn’t come up with a definite figure, but suggested the town’s annual contribution could be about $25,000.
“We’re asking town council to confirm its current commitment to support for the Roundtable. We feel that we’ve demonstrated that our activities are relevant and useful and kind of unique,” he said, adding that other communities have not been able to do as much.
Aside from advising the town on its capital budget, the Roundtable organized a public forum in February that attracted about 70 participants and has continued promoting a variety of projects including installation of electric vehicle charging stations.
Councillor Bill Evans thanked Elliot and fellow Roundtable presenters Quinn MacAskill and Barb Clayton.
“We’re now being asked to put our money where our mouth is,” Evans said. “I think this is our number one priority other than continuing to operate and so, I just want to say thank you and you are receiving a positive response from me.”
Councillor Allison Butcher agreed.
“I’ve always been in support of this and I look forward to Sackville continuing to be a leader in this respect,” she said.