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City’s commitment to environmental sustainability at risk

In this letter to the members of the City’s Executive Committee, CUPE Local 79 President Tim Maguire critiques the recommendation to close the Toronto Energy Conservation Fund and the Toronto Green Energy Fund.

Dear Mayor Ford, Chair and Members of the Executive Committee:

RE:      EX24.2 – Environment and Energy Efficiency Functions
EX24.3 – Repurposing of the Sustainable Energy funds and New Funding Model for City Energy Projects

The City’s environmental and energy objectives can’t be met by robbing Peter to pay Paul, but that’s exactly what’s being proposed in the City Manager, Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer’s Reports on the agenda today at the Executive Committee.

Any ‘so-called’ savings or efficiencies found in the Core and Service Level Assessments must be re-invested directly into environmental initiatives to help make Toronto a healthy and liveable city. Anything less would be a disservice to every single citizen of this city.

The City must not rob money from the process and re-allocate it to other budget items.  The recommendation that the Toronto Energy Conservation Fund and the Toronto Green Energy Fund be closed and any uncommitted funds transferred to the Environment Protection Reserve Fund to “help defray Emerald Ash Borer related costs” is a quick fix that does nothing to sustain our environmental initiatives. Money must be found to protect our urban tree canopy, but not at the expense of other environmental programs and services. CUPE Local 79 and citizens of this city will be monitoring the 2013 City Budget carefully to determine if funding is being pulled from one part of the environment budget and allocated to other environmental concerns.

CUPE Local 79 members deliver front-line services across Toronto to help make this a healthy, safe and liveable city. Our members also live in the neighbourhoods, and they want this city to be world-class, not just for business, but for people. Sustaining a clean, healthy environment and saving energy should be a number one priority for Canadian cities, and certainly a city the size of Toronto.

The City can’t cut greenhouse gas emissions and cut back on environmental and energy efficient programs and services at the same time. The City’s commitment to environmental sustainability is at risk, as well as its reputation. 

Yours truly,

Tim Maguire
President

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