Since its inception just over a decade ago, the Green Municipal Fund (GMF), has been providing municipalities across Canada with funding and knowledge to generate sustainable communities. The GMF – a $550 million endowment by the Government of Canada – supports the very best examples of leadership and innovation in municipal sustainable development throughout Canada.
Although the program closed briefly – due to an excess of applications – it officially began accepting new proposals again in December 2011.
“In 2012–2013, we are aiming to approve $45 million in loans, and $5 million in grants for capital projects in the energy, transportation, waste, water sectors,” said the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). “We are aiming at a minimum of $20 million in loans for capital projects in the brownfields sector and $6 million in grants for plans, feasibility studies and field tests.”
Since 2000, GMF has supported 931 initiatives in over 400 communities across Canada, for a combined total project value of over $3.3 billion. Some of this funding has supported Public Private Partnerships (P3s), including; the Dockside Green in Victoria (a massive sustainable mixed-use development), Nature’s Revenue Streams (a 3-year public-private pilot project in Saanich, B.C., that will link storm water infrastructure to the restoration of stream and watershed function), and The Currents condo project (an energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable condominium and theatre complex) in Ottawa.
“Public Private Partnerships (P3s) are encouraged,” said FCM. “We have supported a range of municipal environmental projects undertaken by municipalities and their private-sector partners. These types of relationships have yielded some positive impacts on both sides.”
“It is important to note that GMF funding is only available to municipal governments or organizations working in partnership with municipal governments. To show a partnership, there must be a collaborative relationship between the organization and the municipal government regarding the environmental initiative and the municipal government must at least have a genuine interest and an active involvement in the environmental initiative.”
The three types of municipal environmental initiatives eligible for GMF funding include: plans, feasibility studies/field tests, and capital projects. Plans can be greenhouse gas reduction, sustainable neighbourhood action, or community brownfield action plans.
Feasibility studies and field tests must align with the eligibility criteria for capital projects in one of the five funding sectors: brownfields, energy, transportation, waste and water. Funding is allocated in five sectors of municipal activity: brownfields, energy, transportation, waste and water.
“We have updated the eligibility criteria for plans, feasibility studies and field tests to best manage the funding available to support the strongest and most innovative initiatives,” said FCM. “This approach is flexible and supports innovation, as it allows municipalities to be able to seek GMF funding on a range of initiatives that maybe very different but lead to the same minimum environmental outcomes.”
As a result of the programs popularity, a new competitive selection process has also been implemented for capital projects (energy, transportation, waste and water sectors) whereby applications are compared against each other and only the best projects are approved for funding. The first competitive selection is expected to take place in May or June 2012.
“This process was established to best manage the high demand for GMF funding, the high quality of applications we receive, and the limited funding available each year,” said FCM, noting that it seeks to attain an appropriate balance of funding between urban and rural communities and among regions nationally.
Applications to the program are accepted year round and funding is approved by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Executive Committee of the Board of Directors based on an evaluation by an independent panel of peer reviewers and the recommendations of the GMF Council. For more information or to complete an application go to the Green Municipal Fund page at FCM.ca.