City of Powell River has been nominated for a 2020 Climate and Energy Action Award for climate action in a small coastal town.
“It is a real honour to have our community nominated for an award like this out of the entire province,” stated climate change mitigation and adaptation committee chair and city councillor CaroleAnn Leishman in a media release. “It shows that local action on reducing carbon emissions and working towards making our community more resilient and less reliant on fossil fuels does not go unnoticed and puts us on the map as a forward-thinking community.”
Leishman credited the work of sustainability planner Ana Lukyanova for moving the city forward on sustainability measures and being instrumental in the city achieving the recognition.
“Her role has not only reduced the city’s carbon footprint in response to the climate emergency and helped us become carbon neutral in corporate operations since 2018, but has saved the city taxpayers thousands of dollars on reduced utility costs by becoming more energy efficient in city operations,” stated Leishman. “That is not something anyone should take lightly.”
According to the media release, in 2019, the city continued to strive toward becoming more sustainable by implementing an ambitious set of actions that reduce the greenhouse gas footprint, including:
• Adopting green vehicle and buildings policies for corporate operations
• Retrofitting municipal buildings with LED lighting, creating a better visual environment
• Purchasing self-watering planters for Marine Avenue to reduce watering truck idle time and emissions
• Adding a low-emissivity ceiling to ice rinks at Powell River Recreation Complex
• Installing a REALice system for ice-making to reduce natural gas use
• Passing a bylaw that permits operation of low-speed electric vehicles within city limits
• Working with BC Hydro to install the region’s first fast electric vehicle charging station
• Partnering with CleanBC Better Homes to offer rebates to homeowners who switch from fossil fuel to clean electric heat pumps and cutting annual greenhouse gas emissions of more than 57 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, delivering cost savings to homeowners
“These actions not only reduced our emissions but also substantially cut our operating costs with a very attractive return on investment,” stated Lukyanova. “The work we did in 2019 alone is saving over $40,000 annually in utility costs with a 10 per cent rate of return.”
According to the media release, the awards are administered by the Community Energy Association, a charitable non-profit society that collaborates with local governments to build capacity and accelerate action on climate and energy. Due to COVID-19, the awards presentation will be virtual and take place during the Union of BC Municipalities Convention, September 22 to 24.
Powell River is one of eight BC communities nominated.