by Amy Dove for the Goldstream Gazette. Reprinted with permission., posted on 9:50 AM, November 17, 2010
Colwood’s work to lower greenhouse gas emissions is garnering attention. The city is one of five in the province being highlighted by the Fraser Basin Council’s Smart Planning for Communities program. The selected communities — which include Colwood, Prince George, North Vancouver and the Fraser Valley and Central Kootney regional districts — were chosen because of their unique models for lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
“What we are looking for with this project was an opportunity to highlight communities that are seen as leaders in this area,” said Maureen LeBourdais, Smart Planning program manager. There are a lot of theories out there about lowering emissions, but communities are looking for concrete examples of programs that work, Le Bourdias said. “It makes the information more real ... when you can see how it’s been used on the ground,” she said. For Colwood, that means providing clear targets and strategies in three sectors: transportation and land use, buildings and sewage.
To avoid “paralysis by analysis” Colwood focused less on data and more on actions and targets to reduce overall emissions, said Jordan Fisher with the consulting firm Jordan Fisher and Associates.
As a growing community, Colwood has the added challenge of lowering overall emissions while adding more bodies to the community, Fisher said. The City’s plan, as outlined in the draft community energy and emissions policy, looks at over all reductions, as well as per capita to account for that.
“It’s a sensible and relatively simple approach to take on what is an incredibly complex issue,” Fisher said. Other communities have created more sophisticated analysis for their plans, said Peter Ostergaard with Smart Planning. The variety of approaches is key as other BC communities can get a better idea of what may work for them.
Colwood will prepare a written explanation of its program, as well as a powerpoint presentation to be posted online by the end of May.
Staff time will be covered by funds from Fraser Basin Council. Fraser Basin is a non-profit group that works on various environmental and social initiatives throughout the province.
“This is very much how we are trying to position ourselves — as doing some really innovative stuff,” said Coun. Judith Cullington. “It’s nice to get the recognition that we are going in the right direction.”
For more information on the BC Climate Action Toolkit, go to www.toolkit.bc.ca.