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Penticton gives green light to climate plan

The plan has a goal of cutting emissions to zero by 2050
Cars remain underwater on Fenchurch Avenue in Princeton Nov. 15. Extreme weather events such as the summer heat dome, wildfires and flooding are being worsened by climate change. (Andrea DeMeer - Princeton Spotlight)

The City of Penticton is moving forward with its Community Climate Action Plan.

City council gave their approval to the plan during their regular council meeting on Nov. 16.

The plan, prepared by the Community Energy Association, contains recommendations and strategies for how the city can address greenhouse gas emissions and climate change in the places where the city has power and authority.

“Waiting for others to change what we ourselves can accomplish doesn’t provide the progress needed to shift climate change from being a discussion about what needs to be done to a positive account of what’s getting done,” said mayor John Vassilaki in a news release. “Action on climate change begins by accumulating small changes at the local level.”

The first wave of initiatives for the plan includes an update to the Home Energy Loan Program, and the creation of a community electric vehicle readiness strategy, according to community sustainability coordinator David Kassian.

READ MORE: Draft Penticton climate plan aims to cut emissions to zero by 2050

“This work will be followed by recommendations to enhance our urban tree canopy, support electric and active mobility, and encourage home energy retrofits,” said Kassian.

The plan’s goal is to reduce the city’s emissions to zero by 2050, and by 42 per cent below 2007’s levels by 2030 if the plan is implemented to the fullest extent.

According to the plan, one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses in the community comes from vehicles, with 54 per cent. Buildings and waste make up 33 and 13 per cent respectively.

Among the projects that are a part of the plan, as mentioned during a presentation earlier in council on the climate plan by First Things First Okanagan, is the city’s Lake-to-Lake Bike Lane.

“How refreshing it is to have someone say clearly that bike lanes are an integral part of the climate action plan that we’re trying to address in this town,” said Coun. Katie Robinson, following the presentation by First Things First member Lori Goldman. “I’ve heard it called a vanity project and many other things, but I think many people are missing how important it is to reduce greenhouse gasses.”

Additional feedback on the plan was received through the city’s Blue Skies community engagement process which supplied input from 357 surveys and 502 responses from 25 school classrooms.

Funding for the plan was received from FortisBC and the province’s Emotive program.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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