The province’s move to cancel a green initiative means local Public School Board is out over a million bucks. Last week, Premier Doug Ford announced the province is cancelling the $100 million Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a resource used to make environmentally friendly enhancements to schools.
The move comes after part of the money had already been handed out. The fund was delivered to the province’s schools in two phases, with the Simcoe County District School Board having already received $2.47 million of the fund, $1.17 million outstanding.
School Board Manager of Maintenance and Environmental Service Mark Twardowski says the two million was put to good use. “under that funding, we completed energy-conservation retrofits at 23 buildings, which resulted in ten million kilowatt hours in savings, and annual savings of $677,000.” He adds the retrofits meant 1,400 tonnes of greenhouse gases did not enter the atmosphere.
Twardowski says not getting the phase 2 funds leaves the school in a lurch, with many projects that will go unfunded. Seven buildings were to receive the same energy-conserving retrofits. “Three million equivalent kilowatt hours of savings, $100,000 in annual savings, and 500 tonnes of annual greenhouse gas emissions.” says Twardowski, “That is what we will not be able to accomplish this year, on account of that funding being pulled.”
Any project approved by July 3rd will still receive funding, Twardowski says no big ticket items this year made it under the wire.
The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic School Board has yet to assess the full impact this decision will have on its facilities and upgrades. Officials there just received notice from the Ministry of Education this week, and are reviewing details before commenting on what impact it will have.
Money for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund comes from a Cap-and-Trade Program that was cancelled in one of the first acts of the Ford Government following the Premier’s swearing in on June 29th.