New Denver is one of five communities that have pledged to use only renewable energy sources by the year 2050. File photo

After energy pledge, Kootenay leaders roll up sleeves to hammer out details

Meeting this week of local governments to hammer out details of 100-per-cent renewable pledge

Politicians and community leaders from the West Kootenay are meeting this week to start filling in details to a pledge to make their towns 100 per cent energy renewable by 2050.

While five local governments have made the West Kootenay Initiative commitment in the last 18 months, a lot of specifics have to be worked out to put teeth into the pledge.

“It’s not sexy, but someone’s got to do this,” says Montana Burgess, executive director of the West Kootenay EcoSociety. “We are really fortunate that we were able to fill that need and bring these local governments together.”

Five local governments have so far pledged to eliminate fossil fuel use and make their muncipalities and rural areas use entirely renewable energy: New Denver, Slocan, Rossland, Nelson, and the Regional District of the Central Kootenay.

The meeting April 25 in Castlegar is to help them adopt a target and transition plan for the energy pledge for all transportation, electricity, buildings, and industry.

“Those commitments are great, but they don’t mean anything unless we can figure out how to actually deliver them,” says Burgess. “How do we do that as a region, as each municipality, how do we work together to do that and to build that strategy?”

SEE: RDCK commits to green initiative

The first step will be to review existing plans developed by other communities, says Burgess. Vancouver and Oxford County, Ont. are already working on meeting their commitments.

“They’ve worked with community members, energy experts and others to develop a strategy to meet the goal at the community level,” says Burgess. “It encompasses a lot of issues: how do we retrofit old buildings to be super-energy efficient so they use less energy? How do we create a low-carbon transportation strategy? How do we ramp up public transit, and decrease personal vehicle use?

“And then, how do we get renewable energy sources for the electricity we will still be using after we become super-energy efficient?”

Burgess says it’s an ambitious strategy, and by working together, small communities can share resources and expertise to meet their goals.

Finding resources an issue

“One thing we hear from municipalities is, ‘we want to do the right thing, we want to provide green jobs and innovation for our communities, but we only have a chief administrative officer for staff,’ so how do we find the capacity to do this?” she says.

“Those are some of the questions we need to ask. What resources exist that we can leverage — the skills, the natural resources — and create this clean energy economy together, that create good, green jobs for our local people?”

Burgess says the West Kootenay governments that have made the pledge are breaking new ground. No other rural, mountainous regions have adopted the 100 per cent renewable agenda.

“So we’re really leading in making a blueprint to help other rural communities figure out how to do this as well,” she says.

Out of the meeting this week, Burgess hopes officials will adopt a memorandum of understanding to co-ordinate action, communication and support.

“It’s a boring detail, but it’s an important detail,” she says of the MOU. “Because if you don’t agree on a process on how you are going to communicate off the top, your process falls apart pretty quickly.”

But it’s not just time for government officials to get involved.

She says citizens are welcome to begin to help.

“If people want to get involved, watch for an announcement from local governments on being part of a citizens’ committee,” she says. “Especially if they are experts in transportation, and building, and electrical generation. If they have special knowledge, they can bring it forward, that would be really helpful.”



reporter@rosslandnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Harrop-Procter Co-op restores Mill Lake trail

A shelter destroyed by wildfire in 2017 will also be rebuilt

West Kootenay region experiences drier-than-normal July: Report

The region only received around 57% of its normal precipitation during the month

No new COVID cases in Kootenay-Boundary

As of July 30, there were no additional cases in the previous two weeks

LETTER: Clean Energy Bill misleads

From reader Susan Eyre

New kids program at Nelson Community Food Centre

Kids up to the age of 13 can learn cooking skills

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Dinosaurs revived for animatronic auction in Langley

More than 500 robot dinosaurs, fossils, and exhibition gear are going on the block Aug. 6

B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

Province pledges $10.5 million for expansion of overdose prevention response

Canada signs deals with Pfizer, Moderna to get doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Earlier in July both Pfizer and Moderna reported positive results from smaller trials

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

Cyclist in hospital after being hit by load of lumber hanging from truck on B.C. highway

A man is in hospital with broken ribs, punctured lung and a broken clavicle and scapula

Most Read