Kelowna looking to accelerate climate action

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Kelowna’s Community Climate Action Plan, endorsed in 2018, identified 47 actions needed to reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions.

Three have been completed, and 34 are in progress or are ongoing.

Now city council is looking at accelerating 27 initiatives to get them back on track with emission reduction targets.

At the city council meeting on Monday, October 19th, 2020, Sustainability Coordinator Tracey Guidi said action needs to be taken in six areas to stay on track to achieving the city’ targets. 

“Transportation, buildings, wastes and biosolids, creating complete communities, protecting our natural assets and utilizing green infrastructure and demonstrating climate leadership in our own city operations. While working on these actions, we need to look beyond and identify new actions in each of the six priority areas to try and bridge the gap between our emissions and our targets.”

Community Energy Specialist Chris Ray explained that there is a significant gap between Kelowna’s current emission reduction projections and more ambitious provincial targets. 

Buildings are the second biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in Kelowna and according to Ray the high cost of energy retrofits are preventing people from making upgrades to their homes.

He suggested removing that barrier with financing options would go a long way in helping the city reach its community retrofit targets.

“In line with this, staff intend to apply to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Community Efficiency Financing grant for a feasibility study that will asses home energy retrofit financing options. Total cost for the feasibility study will be around $150,000, therefore if the application is successful the city would get $120,000 of funding from FCM with the remaining $30,000 needing to be committed by the city,” said Ray.

Staff requested and received council’s endorsement to apply of the grant but the remaining initiatives will be decided at a later date or during budget deliberations.

If endorsed by council at that time, they will come with a pretty price tag.

“The total budget required is $830,000 with $160,000 of additional funding provided through partnerships and external contributions. It should be reiterated that many of the actions are required to deliver on other priorities and programs and are not solely for the benefit of reducing emissions,” said Ray.

A motion was also passed not unanimously to bring a Tree Protection bylaw prior to 2022.

Councillor Gail Given and Mayor Colin Basran opposed. 

To view specific initiatives go to kelowna.ca