Sackville town staff have applied for a $63,500 provincial grant to hire a full-time climate-change co-ordinator for two years.
“The idea is to pilot the position to test its value and effectiveness,” Kieran Miller, the new senior manager of corporate projects told town council during its regular meeting on Monday.
She said that if the grant application is successful, the money would come from New Brunswick’s Environmental Trust Fund which supports projects that protect, preserve and improve the natural environment.
Last August, the Mayor’s Roundtable on Climate Change suggested that the town contribute $25,000 a year toward hiring a full-time co-ordinator to help it pursue its priorities, but town council decided to set aside $35,000 instead for other climate change projects including hiring a student for 18 weeks next summer.
Miller cautioned council on Monday that the $63,500 grant is not a sure thing, but if it does come through next spring, the town would be able to hire a co-ordinator to work with the Roundtable and to help implement the town’s long-term plan to adapt to climate change.
She said the town and the non-profit, environmental group EOS Eco-Energy would jointly manage the co-ordinator position and assess its value.
“It’s a really great opportunity to use some funding to test the position,” Miller said during an interview later in which CAO Jamie Burke also took part.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity, there’s no guarantees, but in the event we do have a successful application, it’s going to be an exciting pilot project,” Burke said.
In August, Roundtable spokesman Richard Elliot said the co-ordinator could help in a variety of ways including developing links with other municipalities, revising the climate change “lens” used to advise the town on its spending as well as developing training for new councillors.
Burke said the co-ordinator could handle communications and organizing events around climate change week or assisting with any changes to the town’s recycling program.
He said the co-ordinator could also help if the town needs to revise its application for the federal-provincial funding needed to complete the Lorne Street flood control project.
The town’s initial application for Phase III was turned down because the province was placing more emphasis on clean water projects, but Burke says Sackville is still intent on building an additional retention pond behind the community gardens and draining the storm water across the industrial park to an aboiteau near the town’s main sewage lagoons.
It’s estimated the total cost of Phase III would be $4.6 million with the town’s share ranging from $1.24 to $1.52 million.