Coun. Leanne Piper said on Monday that she will vote only for developments that fit with the Our Energy Guelph Action Plan, specifically regarding the statement regarding net zero carbon development.
She made the statement ahead of a Council planning meeting where an application for a zoning by-law amendment is coming forward to construct a cluster of 57 cluster townhouses at 78-82 Eastview Rd.
The application is the first new development site to come to Council since it unanimously endorsed the “Pathway to Net Zero Action Plan” and passed a motion to acknowledge a climate crisis on May 27.
“Acknowledging the climate crisis, and committing to act, requires bold leadership,” Piper wrote in a statement on the Ward 5 site.
“Tonight, I will ask the developer if 78-82 Eastview Rd. will be a net zero carbon development. If the answer is ‘no’ the application will not have my support,” the councillor added.
No decisions were made by Council on Monday night, but they unanimously “received” the report. It now heads to staff who will go back and review the Official Plan and zoning policies and they will come back with a recommendation to Council at a later date, to approve or reject the building.
“Prior to this application coming back to Council, I will ask our staff to work with the developer to achieve net zero, or add a condition that this development be net zero before Site Plan approval is granted,” Piper wrote.
Coun. James Gordon later added on Facebook that “I’m happy to join Councillor Piper in that commitment”. The Ward 2 councillor was a supporter of Piper’s motion to declare a climate emergency in May — though the original motion failed in the end when the wording was amended.
Piper addressed concerns that the technology was not far enough advanced and the price tag of net zero housing would be too high, saying “I’m not buying it”. The councillor pointed to an approved net zero high density project on Janefield Rd.
“We can’t afford climate change,” she added, writing that “the cost of a net zero building is not only becoming cheaper by the day” and that it makes sense for homeowners as net zero homes have “significantly lower monthly operating costs”.
“We can create a win-win-win climate crisis solution if we all work together to achieve our Net Zero by 2050 goal,” Piper posted, saying that the community wins because the city tackles the climate crisis, the homeowners wins with lower utility costs and the developer wins because buyers want to live in a city that “takes the environment seriously.”
“If we have any chance of meeting our Net Zero by 2050 target as a community, we must take action now,” Piper concluded.
“It starts today.”