Falher supports, but will not lead, energy program

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The Town of Falher is recharged by a potential opportunity to have an energy manager shared by municipalities in the Smoky River region.

At its meeting Feb. 8, council supported a recommendation to apply for regional municipal energy manager program under the Alberta-based Municipal Climate Change Action Centre [MCCAC].

The grant was first presented to council at its regular meeting Jan. 11 by Diane Chiasson, northwest director of Rural Development and Entrepreneurship for the conseil de developement economique de l’alberta.

Mayor Donna Buchinski says the Village of Donnelly has offered to serve as the managing partner.

At a previous meeting, council declined to serve as the managing partner.

Funding would be shared by participating municipalities, Falher CAO James Bell says.

Climate change co-ordinator Emily Plihal presented her final report in her role since April 2019 under a different grant.

“We have made huge strides,” Plihal says.

“Should grants become available, it should be able to move forward.”

Solid waste is a high priority, she says.

“We have a ridiculous amount of garbage going in the landfill,” Plihal says.

She suggests the Green Cone is one option. The Green Cone is a backyard solar digester that reduces 90 per cent of food waste.

Plihal notes she also applied for a grant that would provide trees for parks in the region and expects a response by mid-March.

Reducing greenhouse gases is another priority project under the contract she serves.

“We have to choose an emission-reduction target,” Plihal says.

She suggests a target of 20 per cent for municipal corporate inventory.

Under the new program, municipalities are eligible to receive 80 per cent of eligible expenses to a maximum of $80,000 per year in the first year, Chiasson says. The second year is optional.

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