Why “Join the Sustainability and Energy Conversation Milton”?
What was the impetus for this initiative?
In July 2019, the Town of Milton’s Council declared a climate emergency. The resolution included the recommendation of a Sustainability/Energy Management position. That recommendation was endorsed unanimously by all of the members of the Town Council.
Four months later, on Monday December 9th, 2019, when Milton’s Town Council held a budget meeting, a motion to include salary dollars for the Sustainability/Energy Management position was introduced and a compelling business case was made. Other municipalities within the region in similar circumstances have shown that such a position would more than likely pay for itself by setting and achieving sustainability goals and targets. Such a position would help educate and engage staff and the residents, and encourage Miltonians to do what they can to live, work and play sustainably. It should be noted that every other municipality within the Halton Region already has at least one such position created, and some have multiple.
The Town Council’s Chamber was overflowing with residents on that Monday in December and a number of concerned residents made delegations in support of the motion. The majority of the Council voted to defer the motion for ninety days, until after the new Chief Administrative Offices was hired. It was a very disappointing outcome for many and resulted in a drive to make change happen now.
Following the December Council Meeting, a number of Town Councillors individually pledged to make the position happen. However, as funding was not set aside for the position in the fiscal year 2020 budget, if Council ended up agreeing to hire a Sustainability/Energy Manager, it would most likely happen only in 2021 at the earliest.
In the days that followed, community members expressed many emotions including sadness, anger, hope, optimism, disappointment, and frustration. Through a flurry of discussions had in a range of spaces; from the aisles of the local hardware store to the town-wide social media groups; the resulting energy was harnessed into asking one main question:
“What could the community do to help bring the majority of the Town Council on board?”
One of the most active community members involved in that budget meeting, Milton resident Wendy Roberts, organized the first mailing distribution list cobbled together from those who were in the Council Chamber that day and other like-minded community group members. This list formed the basis of the “Join the sustainability and energy conversation Milton”. Those first few Miltonians agreed to share information, and to invite others as well to do the same with regard to how adjacent municipalities were doing on the sustainability front, and how they were educating and engaging with their communities.
As a result, creating Sustainable Milton was the answer that most agreed upon.
Thus, by sharing, learning, working together and taking action, we here at Sustainable Milton believe that we can make our town a more sustainable community. All of us – residents, businesses and governments – need to do more, now!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead, Anthropologist