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Sustainability plan moves into action

Steering committee tasked with progress

A sustainability steering committee has been tasked with putting the sustainability mandate from the City of Powell River into action.

Council appointed the creation of a select committee in June 2013, to make recommendations and to initiate action, and is expected to have an integrated community sustainability plan (ICSP) in place for Powell River by October 2014.

“The committee is charged with developing an action plan identifying who’s going to be doing what in order to move forward and to measure outcomes,” said Thomas Knight, planning manager for the community energy and emissions plan. “The notion came out of the sustainability charter. Now we need to give the initiative some legs and start showing results.”

Three members of the public—Rob Southcott, David Parkinson and CaroleAnn Leishman—were appointed to the steering committee by the city. Other appointments include councillors Myrna Leishman, Russell Brewer and Debbie Dee, with Myrna as chair. Colin Palmer, Powell River Regional District board chair, and one member each from Tla’amin (Sliammon) First Nation, School District 47, Vancouver Island University, Powell River Chamber of Commerce, Powell River Regional Economic Development Society and Powell River Community Futures have been invited to sit on the committee.

Four areas—social, cultural, economic and environmental—have been identified as key in developing overall sustainability in the community. In developing the ICSP, the committee will organize existing actions, determine gaps and identify priorities. It will create task forces to provide attention in specific areas and will support partner organizations.

Knight said the committee’s job is to find out how the city is progressing in regard to energy consumption and emissions. “I imagine there will be more refinement in how the province will go about collecting the data in future based primarily on feedback received by local governments,” he explained.

“The community energy and emissions plan, this was the first thing that the city completed,” he said. “The committee is assigned with pinpointing where we’re at and what we need to do to hit our targets. Sustainability planning including waste reduction, energy conservation and renewable energy, and environmental management and stewardship are key components of the strategy.” Knight added the plan includes a commitment to develop a greenhouse gas emissions plan and to achieve carbon neutrality in city operations.

Powell River is a signatory to the BC Climate Action Charter, which requires reductions and measures where necessary to offset greenhouse gas emissions from city facilities, from fleet and traditional services to zero emissions by 2014.

Knight reminded residents that money-saving and energy-saving programs exist for homeowners. He has received a free energy saving kit offered by BC Hydro which includes information and items that will help save families money. The kit is available through BC Hydro to any customer by logging into their account on the hydro website or by calling 1.877.431.9463 and using the MUNI promotional code.

The city is also waiting to hear from the business community regarding the opportunity to take advantage of BC Hydro’s building energy audit that is available to businesses in Powell River. To find out more about the program readers can call 604.485.8617.

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