The BCSEA Victoria Chapter hosted 'THE BIG TOWN HALL: Saanich: Pathway to 100% Renewable Energy' on Saturday October 29th, together with partners Sierra Club BC and SFU Renewable Cities. And it was just that; BIG! Big attendance, with over 135 attendees clustered in round tables listening to highly credible speakers and putting their minds to work on how Saanich could accomplish the goal of 100% renewable energy. At this Town Hall, we began the most crucial first step in convincing Saanich to adopt a 100% RE policy with the mobilization of public officials and the general public.
Jessica McIlroy, Executive Director of the BCSEA, convened a panel of experts providing ideas for participants to ponder.
Betsy Agar from SFU Renewable Cities talked about how Canada, and particularly BC, is showing real leadership in launching 100% RE initiatives in North America. Already the cities of Vancouver and Victoria have taken this direction, becoming two of the first twenty North American municipalities to do so. Hopefully Saanich will soon join them. Betsy emphasized that energy efficiency is still the “first fuel“ of renewable energy, which will bring the biggest reductions in energy use.
Former Public Health Association of BC President Victoria Barr talked about how healthy communities are created when we can transform our cities to integrate much more active transportation and cluster multi urban residential building styles into complete communities.
BCSEA Policy Director Tom Hackney ended the panel with his research findings for a specific Saanich pathway to 100% Renewable Energy by 2050. He outlined Saanich’s current energy use (about 40% renewable energy and 60% fossil fuels). He gave a forecast of where Saanich will be in 2050 in a “business as usual” scenario. And finally, he outlined how Saanich — the government and the whole community, coordinating with transit planning from the regional transit authority and with support from other levels of government — could revolutionize its energy use and become entirely renewable energy powered by 2050.
One of the highlights of the event was watching how attendees were so enthusiastically focused on providing their feedback. Hopefully, they felt the they were really being listened to at this amazing opportunity. There were attendees from the realm of politics attending as well, including MLA Rob Fleming, Councillor Fred Hayes from Saanich and a Councillor from North Saanich.
Another big highlight was the contribution made by the team of people from the BCSEA Victoria Chapter Steering Committee and volunteers as well as significant assistance from the BCSEA Provincial staff, including Tom Bennett with Communications, Jessica McIlroy moderating the panel and Renee Lorme-Gulbrandsen with membership and information.
Shaw Cable will be airing an hour-long program featuring the 3 speakers in the following time slots: Nov 15th - 1pm, Nov 16 - 10pm Nov 17 - 6am, Nov 19th - 3pm, and Nov 20th - 7pm. The video will also be available on the BCSEA Youtube channel in the future.
A huge thank you to all who attended, helped, spoke and brought their passion for renewable energy to the event. It was an incredible afternoon of inspiration and we were proud to meet so many of those who share the dream of a clean, sustainable future.