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Boards assessing PC government's end to school repairs funding program

Posted July 10, 2018 - UPDATED July 11, 2018

The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) continue to assess the fallout from the PC provincial government's decision to cancel the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) which allocated $100 million in April to fund retrofits, renewal and installation of new energy efficient building components in schools and portables.

In 2017, the SCDSB received about $2.5 million from the fund which was applied to work at 23 of its schools.

"This work also resulted in a notable annual energy cost savings of $677,000, a reduction of ten million equivalent kilowatt hours of energy and elimination of 1,400 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions," Sarah Kekewich SCDSB Manager of Communications told Free Press Online via email. "The current year two allocation, which we will not be receiving, was to be applied towards continuous improvements to energy conservation retrofits such as lighting, mechanical and building automation at seven additional buildings. The projected annual savings was $100,000, three million equivalent kilowatt hours of energy, and 500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The overall impact of this announcement to our annual energy budget and energy conservation achievements is significant."

Ms. Kekewich said the Board has not considered its options, "as we will need to revisit the five year plan and look for alternate sources of funding in order to continue with this important work."

The SMCDSB received about $434,000 from the fund in 2017, which was used to replace low efficiency lighting and make HVAC upgrades at select schools.

UPDATED July 11, 2018 - "Unfortunately we are not in a position to comment fully at this time. We just received the memo from the Ministry yesterday and we would need more time to review and analyze the specific details in order to determine what the impact could be for our board," Pauline Stevenson, the Catholic board's communications manager told Free Press Online via email. "'The key person responsible for the renewal and construction portfolio is away this week and other staff would like him to review the Ministry''s memo prior to us publicly commenting on the implication this announcement may have on projects at our schools.".

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri