Today’s Poll

100 per cent renewable energy commitment made by the city

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
January 19th, 2018

The city will be turning to one of the major culprits of climate change and asking them to help fund the costs associated with the environmental degradation it has caused.

A resolution will be brought forward to the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments’ annual general meeting this year to request fossil fuel companies help fund the costs associated with climate change, and to ask the province and the federal government to review their legislation toward that end.

The move comes after two instances in which the West Kootenay Eco Society spoke to council in 2017 regarding the effects of climate change and concerns of the financial burden on taxpayers to mitigate the effects of climate change.

As a result of the meetings, an initiative called Climate Law in Our Hands was introduced and a request was made to council to write a letter to fossil fuel companies to hold them accountable for the effects of climate change brought about by their organizations.

“Political will is essential if we’re going to shift to 100 per cent clean, renewable energy,” said Coun. Valerie Warmington.

City council elected to sign on to the 100 per cent Renewable Kootenays initiative last week — the sixth municipality in the nation to do so — unanimously adopting the goal of meeting all of its net energy from renewable sources by 2050.

Nelson joins B.C. municipalities of Victoria, Vancouver, Saanich, and the Village of Slocan, as well as Oxford County in Ontario in adopting the goal.

The motion adopted by council calls for the Renewable Kootenays initiative to be included in the city’s 2019-2023 strategic planning process.

But the intent of the city will have to be tweaked before it hits higher levels of government.

“Generally matters that are of provincial or federal importance are advanced by local governments through their provincial and federal bodies (UBCM and FCM), as they have the policy advisors that can properly research and provide the most effective voice for local governments,” read a city staff report to council.

There is some city planning and policy already dealing with the reduction of emissions and the community’s consumption and emissions by 2040, including the Path to 2040 Sustainability Strategy, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan and the Low Carbon Path to 2040: Community Energy.

The city also owns and operates its own electrical power system and “is exploring the potential for district energy and renewable heat,” as well as helping with the creating a better climate for secondary suites and infill cottages.

“But … we know 100 per cent renewable energy is possible,” said Matthew Carroll, co-executive director of the West Kootenay Ecosociety.

“(The) EcoSociety has produced an energy model showing how communities in the Kootenays could transition to renewable(s). It can be done with today’s off-the-shelf technology.”

In the last year over 3,500 residents of the West Kootenays have signed the 100 per cent Renewable Kootenays petition and over 40 businesses have endorsed the goal.

Council plants the SEEDS

The city has approved a request to gift the Lakeside greenhouse to the Seniors Economic Environment Development Society (SEEDS) and has entered into an agreement with the organization for the use of the Seventh Street Park in order to increase their garden footprint area.

The GroMor was scheduled to be dismantled and the city staff and equipment charges related to this work would be required regardless of the SEEDS request.

The estimated extra cost in staff and equipment time to move the dismantled GroMor to Seventh Street is approximately $2,000. The salvage value of the greenhouse is difficult to estimate but is likely between $1,000 and $3,500.

SEEDS had originally asked for use of the space within the Lakeside Park nursery to increase their occupancy at Lakeside Park.

In discussion with the city Parks department regarding the SEEDS request to expand their gardening area at Lakeside garden nursery area, the Parks department identified that they had plans to utilize the area requested by SEEDS to expand the tree farm at Lakeside. There were also plans to expand the sand turf nursery as a solution to keeping the sports fields in good playing condition throughout the season.

“The expansion of these two areas will require additional footprint on the site for Parks staff and equipment to operate, making it unrealistic for the SEEDS expansion to occur at Lakeside Park,” the report explained about the decision.

The Seventh Street Park was completed in 2013 and offers an “ideal footprint” for SEEDS expansion, including the GroMor, read a city staff report to council.

The Seeds board agreed to accept the offer from the city for both the GroMo and relocation to Seventh Street Park.

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