Developing the framework for the Local Improvement Charge (LIC) in the City of Peterborough began in February 2017. An LIC functions by having the City facilitate a low-interest loan to a homeowner in order to cover the cost of energy retrofitting their home. This loan is then repaid over a set period of time, as an additional charge on the city tax bill. With this general framework in mind, it was up to the Project Lead and the established team of corporate and community stakeholders to determine how the LIC would be implemented in the Peterborough context (i.e., funding options, local partners, frameworks for home audits, program parameters, etc.).
One of the first steps taken was to hire a Trent University’s Masters Student to coordinate the LIC project – they reported directly to the Project Lead and provided consistent support to the project over the course of the year. As part of the stakeholder engagement process, the Project Lead reached out to the already established Sustainable Peterborough Community Climate Change Working Group, which consists of internal and external stakeholders with expertise in sustainability, energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction, and climate change policy. This group was engaged throughout the course of the LIC project. An LIC Steering Committee was later initiated to provide direction on the LIC and to work through varying options. The next step was to conduct research into other existing LIC frameworks in other municipalities and discuss their implementation and varying degrees of success. The Project Lead held meetings with the City’s Director of Finance and Director of Community Services in order to achieve corporate approval of the project.