Victoria, BC - Across the capital region this week, local elected officials were strategizing on climate action priorities. Over a dozen local government leaders from across the Capital Regional District (CRD) gathered in Victoria on June 19th to share accomplishments, identify challenges, and articulate common goals to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
"Working together on climate change issues is critical," says CRD Board Chair Geoff Young. "We need to send strong signals throughout municipal operations and in the community that will help to shift behavior and transform technologies in order to save energy and save money."
In 2009 the CRD established a regional Climate Action Service to serve municipalities and act as a community resource and hub on local climate change issues. The workshop held earlier this week is just one of many ways for elected officials to engage with each other and learn what is happening elsewhere in the province.
The session included a keynote presentation from City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussato who is a member of the BC Mayors' Climate Leadership Council. The City of North Vancouver has received numerous awards for its leadership in building a more sustainable and energy efficient city.
Priority themes emerging from the workshop centered on increasing the use of active transportation, promoting and protecting urban and rural agriculture, retrofitting the existing building stock, and maximizing efficiency of local government operations.
Suggested strategies developed at the workshop included developing digital cycling route maps, establishing an agricultural land bank trust, lobbying the provincial government for expansion of the LiveSmart Program, and integrating new technologies such as electric vehicles into municipal fleets.
District of Highlands Councillor Allen Dobb emphasized the need to focus on the region as a functioning eco-system. "Every community has a role to play in becoming more sustainable and addressing the impacts of climate change.
Urban centres rely on rural communities like The Highlands to act as 'the lungs' for the region."
The workshop was focused on encouraging community economic development and environmental leadership through climate action and was organized by the CRD with help from the Community Energy Association, the BC Mayors Climate Leadership Council and funding assistance from the province. Results and outcomes will help to shape the Climate Action Service's work plan and future policy directions emerging in the Regional Sustainability Strategy.
For further information, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications
Office: 250.360.3229 | Cell: 250.216.5492