Green Toolbox for Growing Sustainable Municipalities--May-June 2015

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From UNSM’s Municipal Sustainability Office

May-June 2015



UNSM Launches its Wind Energy Fact Sheets for Nova Scotia Municipalities!

Every technology that generates electricity, from non-renewable or renewable sources, presents challenges and opportunities. Balanced comparison from ecological, social and financial perspectives can help communities make informed decisions about their energy future. UNSM’s Wind Energy Fact Sheets for Nova Scotia Municipalities are designed to give elected officials, municipal staff and interested citizens balanced information on wind energy development.Windmill Picture

The fact sheets focus on wind energy in the context of other renewable and non-renewable energy sources. The package of ten can be used as a set or individually; they can be skimmed, or mined for detail. Drawing on research from existing resources and best practices, they provide Nova Scotia-specific content on topics related to wind energy development and a comprehensive source of information to support municipalities in making informed decisions on wind energy.

A printed copy of the wind energy fact sheets was been mailed to each municipality (addressed the mayor or warden).  They are also available for download by clicking here.

 For more information, please contact Debbie at 902 423-8312 or .


FCM Offers New Resources on Alternative Financing Mechanisms

Public infrastructure is the backbone of our economy and quality of life, but after decades of under investment, Canada is only just beginning to confront its infrastructure deficit.  Municipal governments are working to overcome these challenges by advancing new forms of development through Integrated Community Sustainability Plans, Community Energy Plans, Climate Change Action Plans and more. Beyond planning, new tools are required to finance energy and climate change projects.
FCM has developed a series of fact sheets on twelve different financing mechanisms. Click on
alternative financing mechanism resources to access these new fact sheets.

This compendium of financing mechanisms features some of the tools available to municipalities from standard financial tools, such as development charges and user fees, to more innovative types of financing such as commuter taxes, incremental financing or tax-base sharing.

No single financial mechanism will work in all communities — each has its pros and cons and not all are applicable to every type of infrastructure. This sampling of alternative financial mechanisms aims to provide information on developing new sources of funding, financing and revenues, or use existing tools to greater advantage.

Some international examples are shared here for information purposes only; while others apply only to certain provinces. The focus is on existing mechanisms that can be used in most, if not all, Canadian municipalities without having to amend existing federal, provincial or territorial legislation.  The following is a list of the financing mechanism fact sheets available. 


Green Municipal Fund (GMF) Update:  A Renewed Funding Offer

After extensive research and consultation with municipalities, their partners, and other sustainability stakeholders, FCM has renewed the GMF funding offer to remain responsive and relevant to municipal sustainability needs.

To best manage the funding available and to support the strongest initiatives, these updates went into effect on April 1, 2015:

  • An updated competitive selection process for capital projects in the energy, transportation, waste and water sectors
  • Updated eligibility criteria and funding limits for all funding streams
  • An updated application process, as well as new application forms and support tools for applicants

The table below provides an overview of the GMF updates.

Updates Previous offer Renewed offer
In effect April 1, 2015
Competitive selection process (energy, transportation, waste and water capital projects)
  • Applications accepted year-round; funding decisions made six times per year
  • Applications accepted year-round; funding decisions made twice per year (February and September)
  • Applicants for energy, transportation, waste and water capital project funding undergo an Initial Review before completing the full application form
  • Plans: funding for sustainable neighbourhood action plans, community brownfield action plans and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction plans
  • No change
  • Feasibility studies and field tests: must align with criteria for capital projects
  • Must align with updated criteria for capital projects
  • Field tests are now called pilot projects
Funding limits and eligible costs
  • Plans: Up to 50% of eligible costs; maximum grant of $175,000  
  • No changes
  • Feasibility studies: Up to 50% of eligible costs; maximum grant of $175,000  
  • No changes
  • Field tests: Up to 50% of eligible costs; maximum grant of $175,000
  • Now called pilot projects
  • Maximum funding amount raised from $175,000 to $350,000
  • Capital projects energy, transportation, waste and water: Loans for up to 80% of eligible costs to a maximum of $10 million combined with a grant for up to 20% of the loan amount; high-ranking projects may qualify for higher loan amounts under certain provisions.
  • Loans for up to 80% of eligible costs to a maximum of $5 million, combined with a grant for up to 15% the loan amount
  • Applicants with high-ranking projects may be eligible for a loan of up to $10 million combined with a grant for 15% the loan amount    
  • Capital projects — brownfields: Loans for up to 80% of eligible costs (no loan limit)*
  • No changes
Application form and resources  

*Subject to various conditions and approval


If you have questions about these updates, please contact a GMF Advisor at 613-907-6208 or 1-877-997-9926.  You can also visit FCM’s website for more information.


   For more information about the initiatives included in the Green Toolbox, please contact Debbie Nielsen, Municipal Sustainability Coordinator by telephone (423-8312)or e-mail ().