Kelowna’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are getting noticed nationally.
“The Federation of Canadian Municipalities presented us with a Sustainable Community Award,” said Mayor Walter Gray. “It was an honour to be among just 12 municipalities across the country to receive an award.”
The award, in the Energy category, recognizes two plans that the City developed to tackle greenhouse gas emissions - one outlines what the City of Kelowna as an organization will do and the other is a broader community plan.
The Community Climate Action Plan identifies actions to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent below the 2007 levels by 2020. The Plan also addresses the community’s desire to create a compact and walkable community, which residents have been asking for through citizen surveys and input into the Official Community Plan. Over half of the actions in the Plan are aimed at reducing transportation emissions, the largest greenhouse gas source in Kelowna. Some of these programs and projects are already underway, including:
- The smartTRIPS neighbourhood program, which is an individualized active transportation program that was piloted in the Pandosy neighbourhood in 2012. It will debut in the Springvalley area later this spring.
- The expansion and improvement of the City’s active transportation networks. More than 655 metres of new sidewalk, 1,353 metres of new gravel trails and 1,100 metres of improved bike lanes were added in 2012.
- The Bernard Avenue Revitalization project, which will see a more pedestrian friendly downtown once work is complete.
The City also developed a Corporate Energy and GHG Emissions Plan, which provides direction to reduce corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 22 per cent below 2007 levels by 2017. In 2012 efficiency upgrades such as lighting, boilers, ventilation and heat recovery were implemented in several City facilities as part of the plan. Additionally, the City has been making improvements to its vehicle fleet by reducing idling, improving routing efficiencies and by incorporating bicycles into the fleet.
Each year the Federation of Canadian Municipalities celebrates best practices in sustainable community development with the Sustainable Community Awards. Kelowna received the award at the Feb. 13, Sustainable Communities Conference in Winsor, Ont.
For more information about the City’s efforts click here.