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Climate advisory committee gets green light at Calgary city council

Calgary city council approved a new Climate Advisory Committee, but not everyone was convinced it was necessary.

The item, forwarded from the Community Development Committee, recommended that the Calgary Climate Panel be converted to a council advisory committee. The committee will provide advice to the city on climate-related matters.

The city declared a climate emergency in November 2021.

Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean first questioned the cost of the committee. Admin said it would amount to perhaps $1,500 to $2,000 annually. McLean then switched to the potential for added bureaucracy. Admin said it could improve efficiency by being more targeted to climate work.

“I do think it’s about red tape and higher costs, and in my opinion, virtue signaling,” said McLean.

“They’re (Calgarians) not talking about this climate emergency. (Calgarians) are not talking about a climate change Advisory Committee. They’re talking about affordability, inflation, and jobs.”

Both Couns. McLean and Andre Chabot also had concerns about appointees to the advisory committee. They wanted to ensure a “common person’s perspective.”

“I think it’s always good to have that gut check to see what just the general public thinks about our opinion, or our strategy and maybe not just one but maybe a couple of people,” Chabot said.

“To maybe have a ying and yang [sic] perspective.”

Not rocket science: Coun. Demong

Ward 14 Coun. Peter Demong said he found the debate fascinating.

“We’ve got 87 other BCCs, we’re wondering why this one, that’s going to be costing us maybe $500 to $1,000 a year for parking purposes, shouldn’t be a committee at all?” said Demong.

“This is not rocket science people. This is what we do for a living.”

Demong said the committee would provide opportunities for the City to find “these millions and potentially billions of dollars from the federal and provincial governments.”

Demong also reminded council that this is a committee that they could review and vet potential members. They chose the type of representation.

Council voted in favour of the committee in a 12-2 vote, with Couns. Sean Chu and McLean voted against. Mayor Gondek was not present.