Feds Announce Funds to Help with Sustainability on Baker Project

There’s been a lot of talk about the Baker District Redevelopment, what we want it to say about our community, and whether or not we’re going to get any government funds to help make it happen. Today, Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield and others took part in and announcement that covers all those bases as the Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is teaming up to support 125 new initiatives across Canada amounting with nearly $10 million in funds.

Today’s announcement was for new funds being offered through three FCM programs, the Green Municipal Fund (GMF), Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP) and Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP). Longfield shared the news at Guelph City Hall on behalf of François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Vicki-May Hamm, President of the FCM.

“All Canadians should benefit from modern and resilient infrastructure that will help make their home a better place to live for years to come. That’s why the Government of Canada is investing in municipalities that take action to reduce pollution, protect their communities from the impacts of climate change and improve the way they manage their existing infrastructure assets,” said Champagne in a media statement.

“These investments will result in safer, cleaner and healthier communities that give all Canadians more opportunities to thrive” he added.

The Green Municipal Fund supports initiatives to find solutions to environmental challenges and improve water, air and land quality; the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program provides funding, training and information sharing for cities and partner agencies; and, the Municipal Asset Management Program is designed to help cities strengthen their investments in infrastructure.

In more practical terms for Guelph and its Baker development partner Windmill, it means $175,000 funding to complete a Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan that will set measurable targets to meet the One Planet Living (OPL) endorsement, which is a framework to ensure that the resource consumption used on a project is equal to that of the regenerative capacity of the planet.

“What gets measured, gets acted on. Having measurements of GHG emissions mapped in Guelph will assist us in planning reductions, as well as benchmark new developments to meet our future goals,” said Longfield. “The experience Windmill has in sustainable development will be a great benefit in the development of this key project in downtown Guelph, which is the largest downtown development project in Guelph’s 190 year history.”

“We focus our developments in geographic areas where there is political alignment to achieve high performance sustainable and ecologically responsible development,” said Jonathan Westeinde, CEO of the Windmill Development Group. “The City of Guelph has a proven track record of being a national leader at implementing sustainability at the local level. We look forward to working with the City of Guelph to create Canada’s next One Planet Living Community with the Baker Street Development and thank FCM for their support in helping us realize that vision.”

“We are thrilled that the Government of Canada is supporting ecological footprint benchmarking for the Baker District redevelopment project. This project is an example of how Guelph is leading the way by putting sustainability at the heart of development,” added Mayor Cam Guthrie. “It is going to transform our downtown and our entire city.”

The City of Guelph has recently begun another round of consultation on the Baker District Redevelopment, which will include the new main library, plus an underground parking structure, residential development and other commercial and mixed-use opportunities.

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