A catalyst for building a liveable city
As its name suggests, the Community Energy Initiative began in the community. City Council embraced it, made it policy, and allocated resources to it, including full-time staff. While this added momentum and profile to the CEI, it created the impression that the City had things well in hand; direct community involvement seemed unnecessary, and gradually faded away. The mandate of the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Energy ended and was not renewed. The Chamber of Commerce created its Energy Transition Committee, with involvement from the City that gradually disappeared. eMerge Guelph (previously Guelph Environmental Leadership), envisioned as a key CEI implementation partner, began with two sitting Councillors and one staff member serving on its board; there is no longer any City representation there.
The CEI Update Task Force, now reinvented as Our Energy Guelph (OEG), intends to create an integrated plan and organization that are firmly rooted in the community. This will ensure clear and open lines of communication and a pathway to build firm support among Guelph citizens. OEG will have strong and healthy links to City Hall. At the same time, OEG will be distinct, independently led, and independently resourced, thereby insulating it from political changes that could have an adverse impact (e.g. shifts in municipal funding priorities).
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