The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg is taking climate action into its own hands with a 10-year plan to build a sustainable, resilient and net-zero community
The head office of the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) is doing its part to respond to climate change, with newly installed solar panels on the building’s roof, new EV charging stations for the municipal fleet and a community garden located on municipal property. The changes are more than just lip service. They are part of a comprehensive climate action plan just completed by the municipality.
“It’s inevitable that we need to do something,”says Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, the mayor of MODL. “Here on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, when we’re sitting around in 15C on New Year’s Day, it’s evident that we’re definitely experiencing climate change.”
MODL encompasses a large chunk of Nova Scotia’s Lunenburg County, covering an area of approximately 1,675 square kilometres with a population of around 24,000 people. The district is made up mainly of small coastal villages and inland agricultural communities.
In 2019, MODL declared a climate emergency and began assessing what could be done to address climate change in its own jurisdiction. The result of that assessment is a wide-ranging, 10-year action plan released in late 2022. In it, the municipality commits to a 30 per cent reduction in 2019 baseline carbon emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050.
The plan is separated into two main categories: corporate and community. The corporate section focuses on the municipality itself — its fleet, energy use, and operations.
The community side took more planning and consultation, according to MODL sustainability planner Abhi Jain, because it involved negotiating with stakeholders outside of government.
On top of retrofitting municipal buildings and passing regulations on new builds, MODL looked at reducing barriers so that more citizens could access funding for retrofits.
Other highlighted sectors of the plan include conservation, education, and land-use regulations to make sure development matches with MODL’s sustainability goals.
MODL is mostly rural, making carbon emissions from personal and commercial vehicles one of its biggest challenges. The plan calls for electrifying the municipal fleet, passing an anti-idling policy, and proposes expanded public transportation stemming from Bridgewater’s existing system. MODL is even considering a type of on-call public transit to better suit rural communities’ needs.
The plan has the potential to bring a big shift in operations and mindset to the area, but Jain said he thinks the municipality is ready for it. “The community members really want us to see these kinds of changes in their communities,” he says.
“My hope is definitely that we exceed what we set out to do,” says Bolivar-Getson. “A climate-resilient and low-carbon community relies on action, and that’s exactly what we plan to do.”
To read MODL’s Climate Action Plan 2030 visit: engage.modl.ca/local-climate-change-action-plan-2030 For more information about the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg visit: modl.ca