Letter: Climate change responses should matter the most in voter’s decision

Letter: Climate change responses should matter the most in voter’s decision

In Kelowna, candidates answered a climate change question from the Capital News

To voters:

If you haven’t voted yet, Kelowna candidate responses about climate change should matter the most in your decision.

The United Nations gave us 12 years to drastically reduce carbon emissions to avoid climate catastrophe. Kelowna is seeing early impacts with floods and fires. Knowing this we have an ethical obligation to act swiftly and elect candidates at all levels that will take bold climate leadership.

Unlike other questionnaires to Kelowna’s municipal candidates where responses are full of similar politically friendly responses or self-congratulation, the Capital News climate change responses show some true colours of what candidates are prepared to do, if anything.

If you want a livable city that`s built to minimize future taxation and will lower your carbon footprint, I offer you this cheat sheet to interpret candidate responses:

1. Kelowna didn’t meet its 2017 community GHG goals and adopted new targets that are weaker than the province. While the 2018 Community Action Plan includes several ambitious actions that will require bold leadership by city council to implement, most candidate responses don’t align with the urgent action required.

2.Fifty-five per cent of Kelowna’s carbon footprint is from transportation, 36 per cent is from buildings, and 9 per cent is from waste. The priorities have to be on moving people around efficiently and making buildings use less energy.

3. Kelowna needs to build homes for 50,000 more people by 2040. Eighty-six per cent of existing homes in Kelowna are auto-dependent sprawl. Increasing density is necessary to reduce per capita servicing costs and to make alternatives to driving viable. Fortunately, Growth Scenario 3 was most popular. A more sprawl-oriented Scenario 2.5 prepared for council is the wrong direction.

4. Kelowna is at peak car and can’t handle more. It’s not for a lack of roads, but because of a significant deficiency of viable alternatives for most people and cheap parking the city can’t afford. Electric vehicles won’t solve congestion and won’t come soon enough. Every transportation dollar needs to be looked at how it will move people more efficiently. Kelowna needs to prioritize expanding rapid transit throughout our city core, to help families avoid the expense of owning a second car instead of allocating millions more on congestion inducing roads as many candidates have.

5. Kelowna’s inefficient buildings need to be retrofitted, but we also need to build new buildings efficiently so we won`t need to retrofit them in the future. The BC Energy Step Code can enable the industry to provide more efficient homes, but its adoption is in jeopardy.

6. Kelowna is heavily influenced by the business community. It’s time for them to stand up, speak up, and lead. A climate change task force is required to enable and defend strong climate action in our community.

We can achieve positive impacts on city economics, infrastructure, transportation, livability, and affordability if we take action on climate change. For all of our sake, I hope there are at least five candidates you can trust for the majority of council votes to lead us to a better future.

Robert Stupka

Kelowna

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
Interior Health notes 80 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

108 people in the region have died from the virus

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

A render of the proposed expansion at Kelowna Christian School. (City of Kelowna)
City council backs major Kelowna Christian School expansion

The proposal will now go to the Agricultural Land Commission

Vernon’s Jim Cotter and Team B.C. defeated the Yukon 9-2 for their first win Monday, March 8, at the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men’s curling championship in Calgary. (Black Press - file photo)
B.C. picks up first win at Brier

Steve Laycock and teammates cruise past the Yukon 9-2 Monday at the Calgary bubble

Kelowna RCMP are looking to identify this man, who was involved in an attempted robbery in Rutland. (Kelowna RCMP)
Kelowna RCMP searchng for attempted robbery suspect

The incident happened in the 800-block of Rutland Road North

Five Kelowna writers are featured in an anthology that launched in time for International Women's Day. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
International Women’s Day: Book exploring fears features Kelowna writers

The book has launched in time for International Women’s Day

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, an Okanagan based-law practice, and provides Kelowna Capital News with weekly stories from the world of local, national and international law. (Contributed)
Kootnekoff: Royal Dismissal

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complaints about that condo

Most Read