While it's not easy going green, for the RM of Piney, the recent provincial Green-Initiative funding will certainly help make the transition a little bit easier. 

Martin Van Osch, CAO for the RM of Piney says, they are working together with other RM’s in the southeast to plan for a more sustainable future for their families.  

The RM recently received $30,000 grant from the province to undertake a Climate Risk Assessment. In essence, to come up with a climate action plan for their municipality.  

Van Osch says, “We felt that this was important, given our past history, and the occurrence of droughts and wildfires and flooding within the municipality and understanding that we play a critical role, as a municipality, in planning and preparing for emergencies and how things may change and being well prepared for how they may change, means that we can be resilient when these occurrences take place. So, thinking about that, we want to plan for the future.” 

Van Osch says, they felt it was necessary to include the ratepayers in the RM of Piney and will be setting up community meetings to hear what they have to say. He continues saying that the grant money will be spent on doing research.  

Once the community meetings are done, they are hoping to put together an Action Plan, one that they will put in place in the RM of Piney for the long-term.  

“I would envision that this action plan will be incorporated in other strategic plans for the municipality, such as our development plan and specifically, our Strategic Plan.”  

Van Osch says they hope to discuss how the physical changes will change their way of farming. Or how all the overland flooding will change their land development.  

“So, we’ll be looking at reducing our energy uses, becoming more efficient in how we operate, but really, where we have the opportunity to have big impacts, on things like flooding, overland flooding is one example. We have an occurrence of forced pests that are becoming more prevalent as we have warmer winters. We've just seen in June and July an outbreak of Jack Pine Bud Worm in the area, which would increase the likelihood of forest fires because Jack Pine Bud Worm defoliates the Jack Pine trees. So, we can see the impacts of actual climate change and what we want to do is, primarily focus on mitigating the impacts of climate change.” 

Van Osch says every step we can take to lessen the impact of climate change on our forests and farmland, means we are extending life in the southeast by years.  

Monique Chenier with Sunrise Corner Tourism says they are working on a Circular Green Economy strategy which includes several components like eliminating waste, pollution and recycling.  

“We do a lot of shop local initiatives with our local Chamber of Commerce, which is also part of the Circular Economy. By circulating products and materials, we try to find ways to reuse different things from our existing economy, which is on agriculture. It's also based on forestry. Peat Moss is a big thing in our area and there are, you know, waste products from all of those. So, one of the sectors we're looking at in our Business Attraction Strategy is that whole biomass thing, so taking waste products from other industries and reusing them, repurposing, redeveloping other products. So that will be part of our Action Strategy.” 

Chenier says they have been meeting with community members in the RM’s of Piney and Stuartburn, asking them how they would respond to questions like “How can we create processes in our area that will keep useful products and services to the residents in our area?”  

She notes with all the work they have already done; their main goal is to keep residents in Sunrise Corner. Chenier says, “So, we looked at everything we have. We talked to residents. We had an online survey. We did an in-person focus group with business owners to explain what the sectors are that we'll be focusing on.” 

“Things like housing is still a big issue in our area. Certainly, our natural resources around forestry, peatmoss and agriculture are huge. Food and beverage is another one that's becoming big. So, how do we do those specialty food products? How do we do water-based products, because we have such great water here in the RM of Piney, and certainly tourism is another point.” 

Chenier and Van Osch, both agree, that the recent grant money will help answers these questions and more and assist the RM in becoming a responsible ‘green’ corner of southeast Manitoba.  

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