Coun. Mohini Singh is encouraging her colleagues to declare a climate crisis in Kelowna.
She made her comments after a staff report on the city’s climate resilient strategy.
“The environment has to be top of mind because it impacts each one of us on a daily basis,” Singh said.
Over the past few years, the Okanagan has experienced wildfires, flooding, drought, and heat domes, all of which have had significant impacts on the area.
The report predicts that in the coming decades, the Okanagan will experience hotter temperatures, drier summers, more precipitation (in all seasons except summer), and warmer winters.
The first two phases of the city’s climate resilient strategy studied greenhouse gases modelling and a vulnerability and risk assessment.
Phase 3 will seek public input on how the city can support climate action, as well as a draft and final Climate Resilient Kelowna Strategy.
“If we do declare a climate crisis, what does that mean in terms of policy, procedure, what does it inhibit us from doing, what is it going to cost,” added Singh.
Coun. Gord Lovegrove supported Singh’s call.
“I would move that council declare a climate crisis and let’s just get it over with.”
City Manager Doug Gilchrist said while a declaration is not necessarily needed, it is council’s prerogative.
“The good work is what’s going to make the difference, and the investments and choices that you decide to make while you’re at the council table.”
Singh says she expects to bring forward a notice of motion on a climate crisis declaration at a future council meeting.
More information about the climate resilient strategy, and a survey, can be found on the City of Kelowna website.