Developing an awareness of energy alternatives and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is evolving for the city of Powell River this year.
Thomas Knight, planning manager for the community energy and emissions program, and Carlos Felip, director of planning services, presented an action plan to mayor and council at the December 5 committee of the whole meeting. It will assist in achieving requirements of the LiveSmart BC Climate Action Plan and the Climate Action Charter that the city joined in 2007.
Knight said the goal of the action plan is to assist the city with working toward carbon neutrality in operations and to develop awareness in the community about renewable energy alternatives and what individuals themselves can do to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“The work plan report provides a road map to see where we’re at and to measure progress,” Knight said. “It was prepared to give council the opportunity to see what actions are necessary to continue progress in meeting objectives over the coming year.”
Knight also pointed out that there are three broad goals applicable to the proposed plan including local and renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency. The third goal is an education component that will largely benefit both the public by increasing awareness, and contractors concerning new and emerging green technologies.
Knight and Felip wrote in the report that the completion of numerous implementation strategies and action plans resulted in a call to “show me the money” from the community.
In response to the city’s amended official community plan (OCP) bylaw in July 2010, that outlined policies and objectives to incorporate effective sustainability planning and greenhouse gas reduction, the city continued with completion of the Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) in December 2012 and the Carbon Neutral Action Plan (CNAP) in February 2013. The two plans were developed through a community-based process that included representatives from Catalyst Paper Corporation Powell River division, Powell River Chamber of Commerce, local community groups and city staff.
The report states that the city is looking to be a leader in the movement toward environmental sustainability, and in its commitment to become carbon neutral through the signing of the Climate Action Charter.
The report also says that few communities in BC can be considered leaders other than the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the City of Dawson Creek. There are a handful of additional communities, including Campbell River, Vancouver and the Regional District of Nanaimo that are making notable progress toward sustainability in their everyday operations.
The city will also build on the support it has received from the community, from the time the OCP bylaw was amended in 2005, through to drafting the sustainability charter in 2010 and completion of the CEEP and CNAP in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
The work plan was designed to work in partnership with community groups to assist them in the actions they are championing with a goal to reduce carbon emissions. This includes the possibility of bringing electric car recharging stations to Powell River. The report also states that the city will be looking at ways to provide awareness on energy efficient technologies and systems that may also reduce emissions. To this end, information is being included in mail outs to bring awareness to businesses and low income families on rebate programs through FortisBC and BC Hydro that make a difference.
Lastly, the action plan expands upon the need to report on emission reduction actions and activities that the city and its partners are engaged in. This element of the action plan addresses the fact there is very little progress reporting provided by the city, other than reports submitted to the annual Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) to the province. To improve upon this, the work plan provides several actions on how progress reporting to the general public may be achieved. To facilitate the annual reporting of the CARIP report to the province, the actions provided in this work plan are divided between corporate actions and community wide actions and range in time frames from three months, six months and up to one year.