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Green funding for Bay St. George YMCA

From left: MHA Scott Reid (St. George’s-Humber), Environment Minister Bernard Davis, SV Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow, Cheryl Johnson (BSG YMCA), SV Coun. Myra White, MHA Tony Wakeham (SV-Port au Port), Marissa Simon (SV Recreation & Wellness Co-ordinator), Hillary Brisson (BSG YMCA), Marimar Wood (BSG YMCA). – © Jaymie White/Wreckhouse Press Inc.

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

STEPHENVILLE — On Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 14, the provincial and federal governments announced support for an energy efficiency project in the Town of Stephenville at the Bay St. George YMCA. Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced cost-shared funding of over $670,000 for an efficiency and fuel switching project through the Climate Change Challenge Fund. The Climate Change Challenge Fund is a competitive grant-based program to fund greenhouse gas reduction projects and it supports those projects which aim to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Industries, municipalities, not-for-profits, and public sector entities are all eligible to avail of this funding which is supported by over $38 million in funding through the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, an initiative supported jointly by the provincial and federal government. This funding is being used to replace the current oil heating system with electric boilers in the Bay St. George YMCA, with a projected reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 205 tonnes annually. The breakdown of funds is as follows:

  1. $271,393 from the Federal Government

  2. $226,138 from the Provincial Government

  3. $180,951 from the Town of Stephenville “Receiving funding from the Federal and Provincial Governments from the Climate Change Fund aligns with our municipalities goal to reach our targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Stephenville is very grateful to receive funding to upgrade and make our recreational facilities more sustainable,” said Mayor Tom Rose, who was unable to attend the official announcement. “By working with the Town of Stephenville, we are helping the community save money on operating costs and growing the economy—all while fighting climate change. Through the Low Carbon Economy Fund, our government is partnering with climate leaders nationwide to cut emissions, and will continue to do so through a renewed commitment of an additional $2.2 billion—an important part of Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan. I applaud the leadership shown by the Town of Stephenville for helping to keep our air clean and build resilient communities in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Environment Canada. Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said this is the type of project that has significant impacts on every region. “I think it’s really important for all regions of the province. It takes every part of the province to make an impact on greenhouse gas reductions and every change we make, however big or small it is, impacts the whole total benefit for the province and the global community,” said Davis. “So anytime we get the opportunity to make movements that are going to increase energy efficiency or reduce greenhouse gas emissions is going to be beneficial to the region, not just from an environmental standpoint but from an economic standpoint. It’s actually cost-effective for this organization (YMCA) here to save money and it’s going to improve the output for what they do and also benefit the environment as well, which is always a positive that we look for.” The positive impacts achieved by moving away from oil are significant. “Oil fired furnaces are something we are really trying to get at and reduce, so any opportunity we have to do that, like investment in municipalities, and I encourage municipalities to come forward, there will be more funds to come out in the future, and we encourage those municipalities to reach out to us and work with us to try to find those projects that work that we can invest in cooperatively with the federal and provincial governments.” Scott Reid, MHA for St. George’s-Humber, said climate change is a very real concern and that being able to move the building from an oil fired furnace to electrical is an important step forward to address climate change. “I am pleased to see this funding in place as it will add to the long-term viability of an important facility for the whole Bay St. George area. It shows what can be achieved when we all work together.”

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