Kelowna ready to show off its climate change plan

City determined to reduce greenhouse gas emmissions here to 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020.

Kelowna residents will have the opportunity to see and comment on the city’s draft Community Climate Action Plan at an open house March 27.

The open house, to be held at the Laurel Packinghouse, will run from from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and include a presentation on the draft plan from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“Those attending the open house are encouraged to provide feedback on the plan,” said Theresa Eichler, Kelowna’s community planning manager. “This plan focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the way we get around, the energy we use, how we plan our community and the waste we create.”

She said FortisBC is helping to put the plan into action, by providing a free compact florescent  light bulb to the first 100 people attending the open house, to help lower energy consumption. In addition, everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a draw for a free energy audit from Fortis, valued at $300.

“Through other public input, we’ve heard that our community wants a future where Kelowna is compact and walkable, where the natural environment is protected and preserved,” said Eichler. “This is a future that would also lower the community’s greenhouse gas emissions, which is the focus of the (plan).”

The city says it is concerned about climate change and has said it is committed to reducing community greenhouse gases by 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020. The climate action plan outlines reduction initiatives designed to meet that target. It incorporates feedback from previous consultation with other groups, businesses and the public, and provides ways to help reach the city’s greenhouse gas reduction goal.

But the city also concedes that to reach the 33 per cent reduction goal, it will require help from the federal and provincial governments, as well as utility companies, to provide new programs, opportunities, infrastructure and incentives.

And it will require the co-operation and participation of residents.

“While these (government and utility company) groups can provide infrastructure and policy to set the direction, the role of the community is crucial in making the target a reality,” said the city in news release announcing the open house.

“From choosing active transportation, to selecting efficient consumer choices, to reducing home energy use, the public’s involvement will not only reduce greenhouse gases but will also improve community health and resilience.”

For more information about the plan, go to kelowna.ca/environment. There, visitors can complete the same survey that will be offered at the open house and completed surveys on the website will also be entered in the free energy audit draw.