The City of Courtenay’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in corporate operations and the broader community have been recognized by the joint Provincial-Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Green Communities Committee (GCC).
The GCC, through the Climate Action Recognition Program, has awarded Courtenay Level 3 recognition – ‘Accelerating Progress on Charter Commitments’ for 2018. Courtenay signed the Province of B.C.’s Climate Action Charter in 2007, a voluntary agreement between the province, UBCM, and local governments to take action on climate change.
Mayor Bob Wells said the recognition is a testament to Courtenay’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint for both municipal operations and the community as a whole. “Climate change is one of the most serious challenges we face, particularly as we see these extreme weather events increasing in frequency,” noted Wells. “Courtenay has been making steady progress on a number of fronts to mitigate the impacts of climate change, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and we’re pleased to receive this recognition in response.”
Community-wide actions taken in Courtenay in 2018 included the initiation of the Urban Forest Strategy, Connecting Courtenay: Transportation Master Plan, and Integrated Rainwater Management Plan.
The City also launched a large-scale effort to convert street and parking lot lighting to more efficient LEDs, continued energy-efficient upgrades to heating and lighting systems in City facilities, planted over 400 trees on public lands, and launched educational efforts to increase recycling and reduce materials headed to the landfill through the new Courtenay Collects curbside waste app. Water reduction initiatives included the student Ambassador program and an enhanced water-leak detection program.
In March 2018 Courtenay was chosen to participate in a national pilot project that will help strengthen the City’s resilience to the effects of climate change through the Municipal Natural Asset Initiative (MNAI). Courtenay is using the pilot to develop an action plan for flood mitigation in the downtown core through a combination of natural assets and the built environment.
The City of Courtenay joined other local governments in formally declaring a Climate Crisis in 2019, requesting support from provincial and federal governments to allocate resources for local governments, and prioritizing the urgent need for climate mitigation and adaptation.
The Climate Action Charter Recognition Program includes Level 1: Demonstrating Progress on Charter Commitments, Level 2: Measuring GHG Emissions, Level 3: Accelerating Progress on Charter Commitments, and Level 4: Achievement of Carbon Neutrality.