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The Five Most Important CLIMATE SOLUTIONS for SMALL TOWNS in BC

1. Make a Sustainable Transportation Commitment

to aim for zero-carbon future local transportation by creating a walkable downtown community with a great local cycling environment, and by adopting the best policies for ridesharing, car-sharing, transit, transportation demand management and electric vehicles.

Island Rideshare, Pender Island Car Stops, Kootenay Rideshare and the Jack Bell Foundation are good rideshare examples. Most EVs have 100+ km range, so are quite practical for local trips. Grand Forks has built 6 km of multi-purpose bike paths.

2. Make a Sustainable Development Commitment

to foster and encourage the best developments and to discourage ‘big box’ out-of-town shopping centres, with zero encroachment on the Agricultural Land Reserve. Adopt an urban containment boundary, and use a Sustainable Development Checklist and Scorecard in rezoning and development permit applications, with minimum points needed before approval can be considered

A checklist allows a council to ensure that new developments embrace a high standard of sustainable development design, with points for social, environmental, transportation and green energy features, as Port Coquitlam, Whistler, Kamloops, Nelson, and Surrey are doing. Ucluelet has created a very comprehensive smart growth strategy.

3. Make a Greenest Buildings Commitment

to lobby for provincial policies that would require all new buildings to be zero-carbon passive buildings heated by renewable energy; to give property owners floor-space incentives to make their existing buildings more energy efficient; and to plan ahead for renewable energy district heat.

In the UK, all new buildings (urban and rural) must be zero-carbon from 2019; in California all new homes must be zero-net energy starting in 2020. In Berkeley and San Francisco, since 1981, every home must be upgraded to the latest energy standard before it can be sold.

4. Make a Sustainable Local Economy Commitment

to urge your Regional District to target zero waste by 2030; openly oppose the growth of oil tankers, pipelines and coal exports; reinvest your carbon tax rebates in carbon reduction projects; encourage local businesses to sign up for Vancouver Island Green Business Certification or elsewhere in BC to join Climate Smart; reduce your energy use in all civic operations; encourage a local sharing economy; and measure and report progress on all five solutions annually.

Saanich and Dawson Creek have established local Carbon Funds; the District of Chetwynd has installed wind turbines and solar panels to power its LED decorations; Burns Lake has created a long-term Community Energy Plan; Quesnel is doing feasibility work on a biomass-based community energy system; Kimberley has developed a micro-hydro project.

5. Make a Healthy Food, Healthy Nature Commitment

to protect trees and plant new ones; establish more green spaces and community allotments; serve local food on municipal premises; help young farmers to work the land; encourage community fruit-picking; protect local forests and watersheds.

Armstrong has developed a great community greenhouse. In Sooke, their Regional Food CHI Society is working to create vibrant, sustainable food systems for the area.

BC Climate Action Toolkit: www.toolkit.bc.ca

 

How to Use the Local Climate Solutions

to get Great Candidates Elected 

 
1. Gather some friends, and create a Local Climate Solutions Questionnaire, asking every candidate to respond to these six questions, enabling you to rank every candidate out of 50:
 
a) “What leadership experience do you have that would justify choosing you as a Mayor or Councilor? This is an open-ended question, designed to separate serious candidates from those who lack credibility and experience. 
 
b) “If elected, on a scale of 0-10, how committed will you be to take concrete transportation steps to create a world-class walking and cycling environment, and to adopt world-class policies for transportation demand management, transit, ride-sharing, car-sharing and electric vehicles?”
 
c) “If elected, on a scale of 0-10, how committed will you be to adopt an Urban Containment Boundary, protect BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve and use a Sustainable Development Checklist and Scorecard in rezoning and development permit applications to encourage the best possible developments?”
 
d) “If elected, on a scale of 0-10, how committed will you be to encourage zero carbon buildings, encourage property owners to retrofit their buildings, and plan ahead for district heat using renewable sources of energy?”
 
e) “If elected, on a scale of 0-10, how committed will you be to develop a sustainable local economy by opposing the growth of oil tankers, pipelines and coal exports, target zero waste, encourage local businesses either to sign up for Vancouver Island Green Business Certification or join Climate Smart, and to reduce energy use in all civic operations?”
 
f) “If elected, on a scale of 0-10, how committed will you be to take practical steps to support local urban farming; to plant more trees; to develop community allotments; to allow residents to cultivate their boulevards; and to allow the establishment of community food gardens on temporarily vacant land?”
 
2. Gather support from as many social, environmental and community groups as you can. Ask if they will endorse the Questionnaire, and if yes, include their names. Be sure to approach local Dogwood Initiative organizers, who will be very active during the local elections. Create a quick and easy website so that people can see which candidates have the highest scores. www.dogwoodinitiative.org
 
3. Send a copy of the Questionnaire and the Five Solutions to every candidate, with a deadline for response. City Hall will have their contact details, and all serious candidates will have websites. 
 
4. Publish the results using every way there is including radio, TV, local papers, posters and social media. 
 
5. Persuade people to ask questions at All-Candidates Meetings, repeating the questions above. 
 
6. Campaign for the Candidates You Want to Win. Ask to meet them, so that you can discuss the Solutions and learn how you can help. 
 
7. Tell all your friends what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Urge them to vote for the most committed serious candidates, using every means you can. 
 
You can download this as a two-sided sheet immediately below: 
 
Thanks to Mark Roseland, Colin Plant, Dean Murdoch, Adrian Carr, Cheryl Kabloona, Erik Kaye, Tom Hackney and Ben Issit for their valuable contributions.