REGINA, NORTH BATTLEFORD — Three Saskatchewan communities are receiving funds from the federal government and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for green initiatives.
North Battleford, Yorkton and Oxbow are receiving a total of $2.1 million in funds through the FCM Green Municipal Fund to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in those communities. The Green Municipal Fund is administered by FCM and funded by the federal government.
The announcement was made Monday and attended on Zoom by Daniel Vandal, minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, on behalf of Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of Natural Resources, Taneen Rudyk, first vice-president of FCM, and Mayor David Gillan of North Battleford, Mayor Mitch Hippsley of Yorkton and Mayor Doug Pierce of Oxbow.
The funding for North Battleford went to a feasibility study into reducing energy consumption and taking advantage of clean energy sources. That study was completed in 2021 and covered the wastewater treatment plant, Battlefords Co-op Aquatic Centre, NationsWEST Field House, Northland Power Curling Rink and the Dekker Centre for the Performing Arts.
Gillan said there were a number of zero-cost initiatives identified, as well as capital initiatives such as biomass, and adding solar panels to facilities.
“When you’re talking about just the solar panels alone, I think it’s in the neighbourhood of a 20 per cent saving just on electricity per year,” said Gillan.
“These are initiatives that are very feasible for the community to attain. The paybacks are relatively short term. We’re not talking five years but we’re not talking 50 years either. We’re talking about a 15-year payback. So, as a municipality, we’re very interested in moving towards the sort of green initiative energy production methods and reducing the dependence on non-renewable energy.”
The lion’s share of funds will go to the town of Oxbow, which receives $1,822,752 from the Green Municipal Fund including a grant of $238,000. It goes towards adding a submerged attached growth reactor to its wastewater treatment system.
The investment will include new technologies to better protect the environment and meet regulatory standards, and allow for future development, according to a news release. Oxbow mayor Pierce said the system they chose “seemed to be the most cost effective and probably the best thing for our community as far as user pay and the ability to grow our town without putting it on the back of our ratepayers.”
The city of Yorkton also receives $150,200 for a study of upgrades to its water treatment plant and water re-use options. The city is looking to reduce its impact on Yorkton Creek and the Assiniboine River, according to a news release.
Yorkton mayor Hippsley noted the city was attracting more ag-based businesses, which “creates much more demand on the responsibility for effluent management, so this is perfect timing.”
The overall funding is part of an ongoing effort by the federal government towards funding green initiatives. Vandal said the federal government invested $950 million in FCM’s Green Municipal Fund three years ago, “so that we can work together to deliver lower greenhouse gas emissions, make our communities more sustainable and strengthen our climate resiliency. The fund does all of this by providing grants, by providing loans for municipal projects, that mobilize local action, leverage local resources and drive innovation for solutions.”
According to Rudyk, the FCM Green Municipal Fund has funded about 47 projects that are now completed in Saskatchewan, projects which created 159 jobs and contributed $14.9 million to the economy.