Falher supports efforts to renew energy manager’s position

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Services of an energy manager for the Town of Falher and other neighbouring municipalities could be extended under a special government grant.

At its regular meeting Jan. 11, Falher council approved a motion to apply for a grant for a regional municipal energy manager program under the Alberta-based Municipal Climate Change Action Centre [MCCAC].

“We did benefit from the program,” Mayor Donna Buchinski says.

Emily Plihal became the regional energy manager in April 2019 under another grant program, says Diane Chiasson.

Chiasson explained the new program as a delegation as northwest director of Rural Development and Entrepreneurship for the conseil de developement econo- mique de l’alberta.

“Emily did a wonderful job to help us find ways to save us energy and money,” Buchinski says.

Falher completed an action plan, energy audit of Town-owned buildings and assessment of infrastructure for Falher, Chiasson says.

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 explains.

The second year is optional and contingent on meeting minimum requirements in the first year.

“We want to get a grant and program for the region,” Chiasson says.

“The MCCAC wants to see partners in the program.”

She says the deadline to apply for the new grant is April 30.

“The region has already talked about it,” Buchinski says.

Chiasson says she is also reaching out to the M.D. of Smoky River, the Town of McLennan, the Village of Donnelly and the Village of Giroux- ville.

While the previous program was hosted by Falher, the mayor says the Town is not willing to take on that role, considering that the Town has a new CAO and the work is time-consuming.

“It was a lot of work,” Buchinski says.

The action centre and grant help municipalities across Alberta lower energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve community resilience, states information on the MCCACA website.

Chiasson says the energy manager under the new program would have plenty of opportunities to access grants from the provincial and federal government.

“In the upcoming federal budget, they will have special funding for green projects,” she says.

“The energy manager will look for grants for municipalities, businesses and residential.”

Buchinski says council plans to further discuss the grant and program at its next regular meeting Feb. 8.

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