Helping municipalities become sustainability leaders
Beneficial relationships facilitate
FCM, through the Green Municipal Fund (GMF), fosters strong relationships with municipal officials and staff, and supports their vision of becoming sustainability leaders by providing assistance at each stage of municipal sustainability projects. These projects generate valuable lessons that GMF shares with other municipalities to support replication and to raise the bar on sustainability. We chat with two long-standing FCM members: Mark Heyck and Michael Baldwin.
Celebrating strong relationships with municipal officials and staff
Yellowknife shares lessons from sustainability projects with other municipalities
The City of Yellowknife, NT, is widely recognized as a national leader in municipal sustainability. The city is a long-term Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) member. In its annual survey of Canada's most sustainable small cities, Corporate Knights magazine has selected Yellowknife no fewer than three times. The current mayor, Mark Heyck, has long been a champion of sustainability projects and served on the GMF Council for more than 10 years.
Fredericton collaborates in infrastructure management
The City of Fredericton, NB, is increasingly recognized as a leader in municipal sustainability, thanks in part to its long-standing relationship with FCM and the work of Michael Baldwin. Baldwin has worked at the municipality since 2009, and is currently assistant director of information, improvement and innovation.
How would you describe the relationship between Yellowknife and FCM?
It’s pretty clear to me that the relationship benefits not only Yellowknife and FCM, but also municipalities right across Canada. My city has become much more sustainable thanks to FCM’s support and FCM has shared the lessons learned from our sustainability projects with other municipalities. At the end of the day, all municipalities face similar challenges when it comes to energy use, infrastructure, services and sustainability. FCM recognizes that the best way to meet these challenges is through strong, long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
How would you describe Fredericton’s relationship with FCM?
The relationship with FCM is fundamental to Fredericton’s ability to continue to make progress on sustainability. The city joined PCP in 2000, for instance, and has since achieved Milestone 5. We’ve participated in LAMP (the Leadership in Asset Management Program) since 2015, and we’ve also participated in FCM’s international projects in Thailand, Vietnam and Bolivia. In municipal sustainability, long-term relationships are hugely valuable. Collaboration is key to progress, not only for individual cities but also for the entire sector.
Can you give an example of a lesson learned?
Early on, we were quite ambitious and explored the feasibility of harnessing geothermal energy from a former gold mine in town. GMF awarded us a grant to help complete the study and produced a case study about it. We learned that there was no way to get enough geothermal energy to make the whole project worthwhile. More importantly, though, we learned about the potential advantages of a district energy system. We’ve now created a district energy system connected to several municipal buildings. It will begin operating in the next few months.
What role does infrastructure play in municipal sustainability?
Simply put, a city can’t plan effectively for the future until it figures out its infrastructure — what it owns, how long it can be expected to last, and what it will cost to renew or replace it. Fredericton participates in LAMP. Through LAMP, we work alongside other municipalities to figure out the best way to manage infrastructure. Now we’ve begun to incorporate climate change considerations into our long-term plans for infrastructure renewal. This will enable Fredericton to get its fiscal house in order.
What's next for Yellowknife and FCM?
We're now working on a new community energy plan. So much has changed in terms of technologies and building standards since we did our first plan. We achieved PCP Milestone 5 a few years ago, so we've been in touch with other municipalities to learn how they're moving ahead with their second-generation energy plans. We know that we'll have to focus on community-wide energy consumption and we want to explore some of the innovative financing mechanisms that other municipalities are using to support home retrofits. We're determined to keep improving.
What’s next for Fredericton and FCM?
I’m keen to learn more about the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program, the latest offering from FCM. I expect that it will enable us to do even more. Ultimately, we want to learn how to make even more progress both for Fredericton and for other municipalities.