SFU gains $22-million federal endowment for new urban climate change centre

Jan 12 2021, 11:16 am

The federal government will provide Simon Fraser University (SFU) with a $21.7 million endowment for the establishment of a regional Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) Innovation Centre for Metro Vancouver.

SFU was selected to lead and operate the entity by the City of Vancouver, Metro Vancouver Regional District, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). It is one of seven LC3 centres funded by the federal government, with the other locations at Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.

Metro Vancouver LC3 Centre will have a mandate to accelerate “urban climate solutions” through research, innovative financial tools, and capacity building.

It is slated to launch in September 2021 as a non-profit organization that will help cities across the region meet their climate action goals, such as identifying, financing, and scaling up green building retrofits, the electrification of transportation, shared mobility, integrating transportation with land use, and a zero-waste “circular economy.”

“There has never been a more important time to accelerate urban climate action,” said Sav Dhaliwal, chair of the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors, in a statement.

“Through the LC3 Centre, our local communities will have a venue for developing, testing and implementing innovative solutions that can be broadly rolled out and scaled across our region. Metro Vancouver looks forward to working with the LC3 Centre and SFU toward helping us meet our ambitious climate goals and creating a carbon neutral region by 2050.”

SFU Renewable Cities will be leading the stakeholder engagement and strategic planning work to establish and launch Metro Vancouver LC3 Centre over the next eight months.

The new innovation centre will partner with other levels of government, non-profit organizations, and the private sector to maximize its effectiveness.

“We are looking forward to engaging with private, public and non-profit sectors to harness the immense intellectual, social and financial capital of the region through a new institution and a high impact board to bend the carbon curve to zero,” said Alex Boston, executive director of SFU Renewable Cities.

The federal government is spending a total of $183 million to establish LC3 centres in major urban areas across the country. This network of LC3 centres was inspired by the successful model pioneered by The Atmospheric Fund in Toronto, which was established in 1991 through an endowment from the City of Toronto.

“Local climate solutions are critical to meeting Canada’s climate goals. This investment will help Metro Vancouver reach its full emissions-cutting power,” said FCM president Garth Frizzell.

“We already see our cities leading the way on low-carbon innovation, and this investment will help us go further — to build green and innovative solutions that build better lives for Canadians.”

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