Hundreds of people demonstrating during a climate change rally outside of Kelowna City Hall on Sept. 27 (Connor Trembley- Kelowna Capital News) Hundreds of people demonstrating during a climate change rally outside of Kelowna City Hall on Sept. 27 (Connor Trembley- Kelowna Capital News)

RDCO delays decision to declare climate emergency for Central Okanagan

Board members said a climate action plan is needed before declaring an emergency

Regional District Central Okanagan (RDCO) board members have decided to delay moving forward with a motion to declare a climate emergency across the Central Okanagan.

The motion was originally put forth by Central Okanagan west regional director Wayne Carson, who said it was created to help protect the region’s economy, ecosystem and community from future impacts of global warming.

READ MORE: School District 23 students attending climate change rally to be marked absent

During the discussion at an RDCO meeting on Monday, board members decided that more information needed to be collected by district staff before further discussions on the declaration could be made.

Councillor Loyal Wooldridge said during the discussion that more research needs to be done before he could support the motion.

“This is about coming up with a (climate) plan that’s made for the region. To declare an emergency without action is like pulling a fire alarm without a fire truck coming,” Wooldridge said.

“I need to see a little more data on this before I could make a decision.”

During the meeting, councillors also said it wouldn’t be appropriate to re-use a climate emergency declaration already brought forward and passed by the City of Nanaimo earlier this year.

In the declaration, the motion asked the district to develop a reserve fund to support energy-efficient infrastructure initiatives and implement a regional action plan to help prevent the earth from warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius in the years to come.

District of Lake Country mayor James Baker said some of the resolutions set out in the motion were unrealistic.

“I don’t see us declaring an emergency to climate action … we’re already doing remedial action in our planning,” said Baker.

“You can pass a lot of resolutions but as Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran has said, you can’t pass those resolutions if you can’t follow through with them.”

Earlier this year, Basran said Kelowna would not follow the lead of other cities in declaring a climate emergency.


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@kelownacapnews.com

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