A new team has been created to tackle climate change in Nelson.
The city has promoted Carmen Procter — from the EcoSave Program — to a new role as climate and energy manager, and brought in Cecilia Jaques as the new climate and energy advisor.
Together, they will begin implementation of the plan to reverse climate change — entitled Nelson Next — by achieving some of the “highest emission reduction targets in the world,” according to a city news release.
It has been over 18 months since Nelson Next — a climate action plan containing a range of high-impact tactics focused on addressing emerging climate risks and opportunities — was formulated and adopted by city council; now the next step is bringing some of those big ideas to life.
“(Nelson Next) will continue to build infrastructure and programming to prevent or lessen our most urgent climate impact risks, such as flooding, drought and interface wildfire,” the release noted.
Procter has been employed in the climate and energy action field for some time through the development and growth of the EcoSave Program. The city-led program has one of the country's most successful energy retrofit programs.
Jaques has a Masters in Sustainability Science from Lund University in Sweden and was the founder of her own sustainability consultancy practice in Vancouver before relocating to Nelson for her new role.
“Council has set a very high bar which will require an all-community approach to achieve success and building a team that both develops and manages programs, as well as supports our various departments, is also a crucial step in implementing Nelson Next,” said city manager Kevin Cormack in the release.
Changing the path
The road to sustainability has been walked by the City of Nelson for many years, dating back 125 years when the city acquired its own municipal electric utility and developed its own transit system with electric streetcars.
The core work of the municipal government in Nelson is well-aligned with Nelson Next:
- including the protection of the water supply;
- eplacing ageing water mains;
- storm water management; and
- building new infrastructure such as the new cycling route.
Further to this the city has several ongoing programs and initiatives that address climate change, including:
- bringing the Emergency Management Program back in-house;
- the Low Carbon Homes Pilot;
- the E-bike Loan Program, and
- the upcoming roll-out of the technology-based approach to organic waste diversion.
Source: City of Nelson
Carmen Proctor (far left) with Mayor John Dooley, City Manager Kevin Cormack and Nelson Hydro General Manager, Scott Spencer – Introducing Nelson Next in front of the new EV Charging Station at Selkirk College’s Silver King Campus. — Submitted photo
What people can do
Although many of the programs currently underway in Nelson are derived from the municipal government body, there are many things Nelsonites can do to address climate change.
“It will take bold action as citizens to do things differently and drive down emissions,” noted the city release on Nelson Next. “Council is asking us to rise to the challenge and embrace both city and community-led programs.”
Several sections on the city’s website offer information to help people perform an energy retrofit on their house, manage vegetation properly and conserve water.
• To find out about Nelson Next and what can be done, visit www.nelson.ca/programs.