Climate change lip service?

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran says he's frustrated at local attitudes on climate change.

Basran made the comment after a presentation on extreme weather events in the city this year and their link to climate change.

That followed a report on the city's citizen survey, in which a lack of traffic flow was one of the biggest gripes.

Basran said he's frustrated by what he sees as a disconnect where, on one hand, the city was devastated by major flooding and a month of smoky skies, but, on the other hand, people want more roads and more traffic lanes to accommodate more vehicles.

"Does one need more of a signal than: can't go outside, basements are flooded?" asked the mayor.

"I guess that's the question I'm asking. What is it going to take for people to change their behaviour? If it's not a summer like the one we've had, then what is it going to be?"

While councils will use citizen surveys to help plan, Basran said the challenge of any council is to balance its priorities with the wants and needs of the community.

"How do we still invest in the things residents have clearly told us they want, but also invest in things science shows we clearly need and evidence shows us we clearly need? This is an age-old dilemma.

"If people are not willing to make change after the summer we've had, when will they?"

Basran said the city will continue to invest in what he calls a balanced transportation network, which includes active transportation corridors and transit infrastructure to get people out of vehicles, as well as roads.

Personally, the mayor said he has relocated to an area of town where he and his wife can both walk to work and their children are able to walk to school.

He said people need to look at themselves and ask: what can I do?

In his presentation on this year's extreme weather, planner Ross Soward said climate change is going to happen.

"This report is not meant to be negative, but it's meant to put out some of these issues to prepare us as we try to take steps to position ourselves and respond to the changes that are going to come in the next five, 10, 20 years.

"It's a significant issue that will require a significant response."


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