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City of Powell River to consider climate action memo

Staff will use document to integrate into strategic planning process
REVIEW REPORT: City of Powell River Council members were reminded of a climate action memo that was forwarded from the former climate change mitigation and adaptation committee. The community has an active climate action movement, with Brooks Secondary School students showing concern for the environment at a demonstration held in the past.

City of Powell River staff will consider a climate action memo for integration into the city’s strategic planning process.

At the August 17 city council meeting, correspondence from former city councillor CaroleAnn Leishman was reviewed, regarding the one-year anniversary of a memo from the city’s former climate change mitigation and adaptation committee. Leishman stated that the memo was brought to council at committee of the whole in August 2022 and council unanimously voted to send it to the new council for strategic planning.

“As we near the middle of the decade of action on reducing carbon emissions, the world is literally on fire and we can no longer delay acknowledging climate change as an imminent threat to the heath, safety and resiliency of people today and into the future,” stated Leishman.

Leishman stated that the memo is an exhaustive list of actions that align with the province’s CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, which the committee members thought could be actioned in Powell River to help reduce carbon emissions.

City councillor Trina Isakson suggested referring the memo to staff so that when strategic planning is being carried out, staff will be helping council with climate action matters.

“I move to refer this to staff as we work toward strategic planning and operationalizing that,” said Isakson.

Councillor Rob Southcott said he, along with Leishman, was on the climate change mitigation and adaptation committee that worked on the memo for about four months.

“This was a committee that was loaded with talent and experience,” said Southcott. He said that committee members had graduate degrees in disciplines useful to the discussion about climate change, such as engineering, public policy, environmental ethics and environmental law.

“When we advertised for seats on this committee, we were overwhelmed by the amount of talent that came out of this community to sit on it,” said Southcott. “People had worked in these fields for decades.”

Southcott said the report represents a lot of work and is based mostly on the provincial government’s CleanBC Roadmap to 2030. He said many of the points are pertinent to municipalities.

“I know our planning department has received this report,” said Southcott. “There are a number of initiatives and actions in the report prepared by the committee that have been actioned or are in process. At some point it would be useful for council to have an update on all that.

“In an age where there is increasing distress about the effects of climate change, which is having effects on mental health, particularly with younger people, to know that we can do things and that we are doing things is becoming increasingly important. This report represents things that are being done by our amazing staff. It connects back to 2006 when the sustainability charter was created in this community.”

Councillor Cindy Elliott said there were many suggestions in the report that align with livable cities, lowering energy, increasing the comfort of the community, and the way people can get around.

“Most of the suggestions create a more efficient way of living and lowering costs overall,” said Elliott. “Staff can take the report and look at which of these makes sense for the departments, and include them in operational planning. That would really help.”

The motion to pass the memo to staff carried unanimously.

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