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CHATTER: Carbon tax fuels upgrades at Kensington School (Jan. 2018)

January 29th, 2018 · No Comments

Mitzie Hunter (right), Ontario’s minister of education, sits in on a Kensington Community School kindergarten class discussion about climate change. BRIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS

Just in time for the relentlessly extreme cold this winter, Kensington Community School on College Street is basking in warmth, thanks to two new energy-efficient boilers. The provincial government spent $358,000 on the installation, using funds from a $200 million dividend from the carbon market created by its cap and trade program. So far, 594 schools have received energy-efficient upgrades totalling $84 million from the dividend.

Mitzie Hunter, the provincial minister of education, announced the investment at the school on January 12. She said that buildings, and the energy they consume, account for almost one quarter of Ontario’s greenhouse gas pollution, and that reducing our carbon footprint was critical in order for us to “leave a sustainable legacy for our children and grandchildren”.

“The province’s public schools are doing their part to fight climate change,” she said. “These upgrades will reduce green gas emissions to create a greener school environment for students and staff and a healthier future for the province.”

With Ontario’s public schools facing an estimated $15 billion backlog in deferred and major maintenance, Hunter was asked how such a relatively small investment of $358,000 could begin to address this general condition of deterioration.

Hunter explained that the Kensington investment was part of a larger plan to upgrade schools with solar panels and replace roofs, flooring, and plumbing systems.

“We are investing $1.4 billion in school boards, and that’s an annual figure, to help them begin to address the backlog,” added Hunter.

—Brian Burchell/Gleaner News

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