Activists laid down in front of Kelowna City Hall to get their message across as part of the climate change strike protest in September 2019. (File photo)

Kelowna community group urges the city to do more in the fight climate change

The Kelowna South-Central Association of Neighbourhoods voiced their concerns in a letter to city council

A Kelowna neighbourhood association is asking the city to take action and mitigate the effects of climate change on the community.

In a letter addressed to the mayor and city council, the Kelowna South-Central Association of Neighbourhoods (KSAN) urged council to “adopt and support actions to counter climate change effects, which can extend locally, across the valley, the province and the nation.”

According to the Auditor General’s Report published in 2018, current carbon dioxide trends in Canada indicate the country will fail to meet its 2030 targets under the Paris Agreement if nothing changes.

UN scientific reports on the climate emergency suggests Canada’s economic prosperity is at risk unless “rapid and far-reaching” changes across all communities are made to keep temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C by 2030, and to achieve zero emissions by no later than 2050.

In response, KSAN is asking city council to revise its Community Climate Action Plan, while at the same time, create a Climate Emergency Task Force.

The city’s climate action plan was first established in 2012.

The original target was to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent below 2007 levels by the year 2020.

However, in 2017, the city was emitting six per cent more green house gas emissions than it did in 2007.

KSAN acknowledged the city for creating a Community Climate Action Plan, but urged the city to take more “urgent action” in the wake of the “climate emergency.”

The association called upon the city to be part of a collective push to help Canada address the climate emergency by doing the following:

  • Playing a leading role in the creation of green technology incentives and job training programs that benefit Kelowna businesses who represent one of Kelowna’s greatest tourism and investment markets.
  • Establishing a Kelowna Climate Emergency Task Force comprised of representatives from community associations, buseinsses, local experts and researchers in climate change and adaptation, similar to the Journey Home Task Force to address the city’s homelessness crisis.
  • Promoting more sustainable infrastructure spending particularly in transportation and housing, the areas of greatest emissions in Kelowna.
  • Promoting economic support for commercial and residential solar panel installations which will reduce the use of fossil fuels for energy and thereby reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Creating partnerships with community organizations, businesses and researchers to make Kelowna the place for transit innovation, further reinforcing our draw as regional technology economic driver.
  • Providing subsidized bus passes, zero-emission buses, more bus transportation to reduce car use.
  • Incorporating green energy and net-zero infrastructure in Kelowna.
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