Climate change: Nelson’s mayor calls out people who have not used the EcoSave program

Climate change: Nelson’s mayor calls out people who have not used the EcoSave program

It’s the first thing people should do to reduce greenhouse gases, John Dooley said

Mayor John Dooley has criticized Nelson residents who are concerned about climate change but have not taken part in the city’s EcoSave home energy retrofits program.

“If every person on the street who talked to me about climate change took advantage of that program we could reduce carbon dramatically,” he said at a Dec. 16 council meeting. “We had that graph showing us the housing stock in Nelson and how much carbon is being lost because people don’t insulate or have weather stripping, some very simple little pieces. I would put that out to the community that are challenging us.”

City manager Kevin Cormack had a different view.

“We have lots of solid stuff that lots of communities are trying to get in place,” he told the meeting. “The EcoSave program is a [good example]. If you can create momentum around a program, hopefully you have those same folks step up for the next thing. It is a real solid foundational piece.”

The EcoSave program gives Nelson Hydro customers both inside and outside Nelson a home energy evaluation to determine what energy efficiency upgrades (retrofits) should be done to reduce energy consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions, and offers access to rebates and energy coaching to get the work done. The work can be financed by Nelson Hydro and re-payed gradually on a customer’s hydro bill. The program has been in been in effect for seven years.

Program coordinator Carmen Proctor told the Star that an average of 700 people, or about 100 per year out of 10,000 Nelson Hydro customers have applied for the program but not all of those have followed through with an energy evaluation or retrofits.

Dooley and Cormack made these remarks during a presentation by the city’s climate change coordinator Kate Letizia, who started her newly-created job in the summer. Eighty per cent of her salary is funded for two years by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to create a climate change plan for the city.

At the Dec. 16 meeting she presented city council with an overview of her plans and her work so far. Her presentation is attached below.

Related:

• Nelson hires climate change co-ordinator

• Climate change to be part of Nelson council strategic priority session

• Provincial energy incentives complement Nelson’s EcoSave program

• Nelson energy retrofit program will expand to rural areas

Councillors Brittny Anderson and Jesse Woodward wondered if the development of Letizia’s plan was moving fast enough.

Anderson asked if the city could go ahead with proactive measures while the plan is still being built. Letizia responded that she hopes the city can continue to improve the current work it is doing while the planning process is underway.

Woodward told Letizia, “I know you are moving at speed, but science says we have to move with speed and it is not toward something 20 years out. It is in the next five to 10 years … I am hoping we can immediately start the plan and move at speed into the future with it.”

City planner Pam Mierau, who is Letizia’s supervisor, responded that she thinks the plan is moving “really fast. We have to have this in the bag by July. It is a great opportunity to step back, take stock of what we have been doing [in the past few years], and really think strategically about where we want to go in the future.”

Letizia said she is approaching mitigation and adaptation simultaneously. Mitigation is about causes, she said. It refers to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Adaptation refers to identification of risks and vulnerabilities created by climate change — dealing with impacts, both current and future.

“Low carbon resilience,” she said, “is a two-pronged approach that tackles both concurrently.”

Combining mitigation and adaptation results in what Letizia calls co-benefits — benefits that might not be achieved if a city tackled only adaptation or only mitigation.

“Co-benefits can include pollutant capture, improved biodiversity, energy savings, reduced waste, improved water collection, improved air and water quality, cost savings, green job creation, improved human health, carbon sequestration, increased property values, reduced congestion, and reduced extreme temperature.”

As an example she cited a green roof bylaw being implemented by the City of Toronto for large commercial buildings.

“Their major motivation is climate change,” Letizia said, “but [this will also] improve air quality and aesthetics, reduce energy use through decreased demand for air conditioning, increase local food production and biodiversity, create greater seismic resilience, create more green jobs, and reduce waste because green roofs last twice as long as regular roofs.”

She outlined the timeline for her first year required by the FCM funding:

Phase 1 – August to December 2019: Take stock

Phase 2 – November 2019 to February 2020: Define the challenges

Phase 3 – February to May 2020: Explore and develop solutions

Phase 4 – May to July 2020: Design and approve a plan, choosing highest impact and highest feasibility options

In year two she will begin to implement the plan and set it up for long-term adoption after the grant period.

Letizia outlined the city documents she has studied, the research on international best practices she’s done, the local groups she has talked to, interviews she has conducted, and partners she’s developed (including Selkirk College, BCIT, SFU and the EcoSociety) in her first months on the job.

The council discussion about the climate change plan can be viewed here at 58:30:

She said she is forming a climate change working group consisting of city employees plus people from public health, information technology, economic development and social services, to assist in developing the plan.

Dooley advised her to consult with a mix of people.

“I appeal to you to have a good mix of focus groups,” he said. “You don’t get good results with like-minded people. You get good results with people who challenge us to think differently or come up with new ideas.”

City initiatives already in place, Letizia said, that form a basis for the plan, include the community solar garden, the EcoSave program, seniors home weatherization, high density zoning, emergency management research, forest fire mitigation work, early implementation of new building rules in the Step Code, water conservation, and flood mitigation measures.

Dooley advocated retrieving methane from landfills, incinerating waste for energy, and having recycling and compost bins within a five minute walk of any resident — all ideas he said he had gleaned from reading a waste plan that Letizia co-wrote for the Town of Banff in 2017.

“With waste,” Dooley said, “I think we are at a crossroads. This may be the opportunity to make the change necessary to shift how we manage waste. We have told our residents: create as much waste as you want and we will come and pick it up and take it away. I believe there has got to be a new way.”

Letizia’s presentation is attached below.

Nelson Climate Change Plan Update by BillMetcalfe on Scribd

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

Just Posted

Crews retrieved the overturned commercial truck from the crash scene on Friday, Nov. 20. Photo: Betsy Kline
UPDATE: Kootenay woman dies in Genelle collision

The incident occurred Thursday, Nov. 19.

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
104 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

IH is reporting the new numbers since Friday, Nov. 20

Marty Horswill, March 14, 1944 – November 9, 2020. File photo
Seventy years of song: Marty Horswill’s legacy remembered

The third-generation Nelson resident and vocalist died on Nov. 9

Interior Health says there have been 24 cases of COVID-19 in Salmo in November. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
UPDATED: COVID-19 cases rise to 24 in Salmo

The cases are connected to social events in the village

Trail RCMP seized illicit drugs, cash and a weapon following a traffic stop in West Trail on Nov. 18. Photo: Trail RCMP
West Kootenay man, woman face drug charges after traffic stop

Police report that three types of illicit drugs were seized as well as cash and a Taser

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Most Read