--Green Fund 2021: Gatineau to support 14 environmental projects
During its most recent public meeting, held on February 16, Gatineau’s municipal council approved to finance fourteen environmental projects as part of its 2021 Green Fund. In a press release issued by the city on the same date, it stated that $140,750.34 has been invested in this year’s projects. Among those, include respective subsidies of $21,653 to the Boucher Forest Foundation for an interpretative trail and pedagogic materials for the Boucher Forest, and $25,000 grants to the centre intégré de la santé et des services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSS) for a greening project at the Hull Hospital, and to MOBI-O to put together videos on durable mobility in Gatineau; and a $4,030 grant to l’École Saint-Paul to reduce the number of individual water bottles at the school.
Gatineau officials added that organizations chosen for the Green Fund can be eligible for subsidies of up to $25,000 per project, noting that the grants represent up to 75 per cent of a project costing $5,000 or less, or up to 50 per cent of a project costing more than $5,000. Intending to support projects aligning with the city’s environmental ambitions and its environmental policy, the main objectives of the Green Fund are to establish partnerships within the community while tasking advantage of municipal funding, to recognize and highlight environmental organizations and contribute to their projects’ success, and promote the importance of environmental protection.
Noting that 18 total projects were submitted, the call for projects was launched on October 1, 2020 and ended on November 6. In 2020, the city’s Green Fund financed 25 environmental initiatives, 26 projects in the 2019, and 26 in 2018. The city has invested more than $2.7 million in environmental projects since 2008.
Aylmer district councillor and member of the Green Fund’s selection jury for the second consecutive year, Audrey Bureau, noted that the 2021 program received considerably fewer applications than in previous years due to the pandemic.
Optimistic that the Green Fund will receive more public interest in the future, she noted that there is still money left in the city’s budget dedicated to the program that will likely be allocated to next year – pending Municipal council’s decision. “I hope that, while we’re all getting out of the pandemic, more people will apply and that we will be able to finance more projects,” Bureau said. “I hope that next year we return to normal in terms of the number of projects deposited.”
Deschênes district councillor Mike Duggan said around $100,000 from the Green Fund’s budget wasn’t allocated this year. Considering current circumstances, he felt quite positive about the number of projects submitted and selected for financing. Noting that some of the Green Fund’s budget has been dedicated to large organizations like l’Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), Duggan feels its important to prioritize community initiatives over corporate projects. “I want to make sure that these big players don’t start absorbing municipal funds,” Duggan said, noting that education is legally a provincial government jurisdiction.
While the pandemic played a role in participation being reduced this year, Lucerne district councillor Gilles Chagnon said the city needs to improve its ways of promoting the Green Fund to the general public. “It’s a good secret,” Chagnon said. “Not enough people know about the Green Fund. We need to do better raising awareness about it … I’m certain that there are schools that could’ve submitted projects.”
Highlighting the importance of taking action against climate change these days, Commission du développement du territoire, de l’habitation, et l’environnement and Plateau district councillor Maude Marquis-Bissonnette said she’s thrilled with local organizations’ continued enthusiasm towards the cause from one year to the next. “Thanks to the Green Fund, hundreds of projects had seen the light of day in previous years and have brought their contribution, in their way, to protect and preserve our environment,” Marquis-Bissonnette said.