Homeowners in the South Okanagan now have a new weapon in their arsenal when it comes to making their home environmentally-friendly and sustainable–Building Climate Resilience in the Okanagan | A Homeowner’s Resource Guide.
The guide, which was recently published by the South Okanagan Real Estate Board (SOREB) and written by independent biologist Eva Antonijevic, environmental planner Alison Peatt and freelance writer Mandy Wheelwright, arms homeowners with information relating to floods, wildfires, energy efficiency, invasive species, biodiversity and food security.
“The reason there is a need for a guide like this is because there are so many single topic issues, but there’s nothing put together that covers the whole spectrum of challenges facing South Okanagan homeowners,” said Antonijevic. “We originally proposed to do this booklet for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS), and the board of directors approved it, but the Real Estate Foundation of BC (responded to our previous funding application) and said it would be better suited through SOREB because they have a whole arm of funding to educate realtors. So they became the lead and RDOS was still involved and had some leftover funding from a former project that they put towards this.”
Antonijevic said originally, the book was meant to be distributed by SOREB realtors to new homeowners, but due to its fast-growing popularity it is also available online and through various partners. Because each topic in the book is so vast and complex, it not meant to be an exhaustive resource but more of an introduction that also suggests other resources homeowners can utilize.
“Each chapter is like an executive summary that links to further reading,” said Antonijevic.
Wheelwright added, “And all of the key messaging this is important is highlighted. It says in the notice to reader that it’s really more of an awareness campaign and introducing the topics in a way that there is some mention of solutions and some resource links to take a deeper look.”
Antonijevic and Wheelwright said this guide can empower homeowners in the area to mitigate the risk of natural events such as floods and wildfires, while benefiting the environment using things such as natural landscaping and native plant species.
“The work that the government is taking to mitigate the impacts of climate change should go hand-in-hand with things the homeowner can actually help out and do,” said Wheelwright.
Antonijevic said following the recommendations within the guide can save homeowners in the future, because they might not be able to insure their home in this area if it is not certified as fire smart or flood smart.
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