Coquitlam engages community in GHG emissions reduction strategy
During the last year, the City of Coquitlam, La Société de développement économique de la Colombie-Britannique (SDÉ) and Eco-West established a working partnership to develop a wide-ranging strategy to reduce GHG emissions in the area. The plan will result in engaging a host of local stakeholders, from industrial and business concerns right down to a grass roots level of community organizations and individual residents.
The City of Coquitlam is located in the Lower Mainland of the Province of British Columbia, approximately 10 kilometres east of Vancouver. Coquitlam is the sixth-largest city in the province (with a population of just under 30,000 residents) and is one of the 21 municipalities that make up the greater Metro Vancouver region.
The implementation of Coquitlam’s ‘GHG Reduction Strategy Work Plan’ went into effect on July 1, 2015, and consists of two main objectives:
Objective 1: During year 1, develop a project plan to achieve community GHG emissions reduction targets.
Objective 2. Implement community engagement activities that will take advantage of currently available programs to create and maintain momentum for the plan throughout the community.
The strategy that was developed by the city in collaboration with SDÉ and Eco-West is groundbreaking in that it seeks to mandate real and lasting change as well as set standards that will guide a portion of the city’s environmental policy for several years to come.
That is the reason why the initial planning stage encompasses such an extensive consultative phase at all levels throughout the community, with the goal of also identifying best practices to be shared with other municipalities in Western Canada who wish to fully engage their citizens directly in the fight against climate change.
Consultations during the planning phase will include, among others:
- Review the existing community GHG strategy to establish common themes and establish goals for future areas of planning;
- Review current municipal policies in order to determine what is occurring in each department that supports the reduction of GHG emissions, and identify which areas will prove to be the most cost-effective in implementing the strategy;
- Research external synergies and be on the lookout for upcoming provincial and federal legislation as well as all other programs and incentives that could support the plan’s areas of focus;
- Identify potential avenues for economic development initiatives and partnerships with area businesses;
- Research possible community-based partnerships in order to determine which groups/organizations have the potential to help advance the strategy and
- Develop a collaborative framework that will succeed in mobilizing all community stakeholders in order to achieve established GHG reduction strategy goals, while demonstrating to taxpayers the value-added of adopting various energy-saving measures.
The ensuing implementation phase will include a series of community engagement activities, including:
- Promoting the MURB pilot program (offered by BC Hydro Power Smart and FortisBC) to assist owners of rental multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) in the implementation of energy-efficient measures on their properties;
- Organizing workshops for businesses, with keynote speakers and experts on specific areas of green technologies and programs as well as the fight against climate change and
- Creating an awareness concerning the residential energy rebate programs that are available to area residents.
Each year, the relationship between GHG emissions and climate change is becoming increasingly evident. Consequently, the City of Coquitlam, with the support of SDÉ and Eco-West as well as a financial contribution of $35,000 from RDÉE Canada, is developing its GHG emissions reduction strategy/local action plan to improve the quality of life of the community while strengthening its role in attenuating the forces of climate change.