Courtenay achieves national climate milestone through OCP update

Originally published in Comox Valley Record
24 March 2021

The City of Courtenay is among 25 municipalities across Canada to complete an intensive climate action pilot project, charting a course to new climate-friendly goals in the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP) – and establishing Courtenay as national and international leader on local climate action.

In late 2019, the city was selected to join the first Showcase Cities cohort led by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) Canada. The project included technical support, training, exclusive networking opportunities, and access to tools and resources to advance ambitious climate action objectives. Based on a badge system of increasing action, Courtenay achieved the GHG inventory and target-setting badges, and expects to achieve the plan badge upon the adoption of the OCP anticipated this summer, demonstrating commitment and strategy to lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

“Council had identified a climate-friendly OCP as a top strategic priority and this opportunity to work with others across Canada was perfect timing,” said Mayor Bob Wells. “We’re excited to share our experiences with other communities.

Late last year, Courtenay citizens were invited to attend a series of “walkshops” and virtual workshops in a number of neighbourhoods. The result of that public engagement is available on the city website, with more ideas of how to put climate-friendly OCP goals into action. These include developing within existing urban centres and neighbourhoods for walkability, more housing choices such as rentals, suites, townhomes and small apartments, increased walking, cycling and transit investments, and more space for and time in nature as part of all neighbourhoods.

“Municipalities are leading the way on low-carbon solutions—from building retrofits to green transit fleets,” said Garth Frizzell, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. “And with municipalities influencing half of Canada’s GHG emissions, scaling up local solutions is key to meeting Canada’s climate targets. We applaud Courtenay for taking direct action to tackle the impacts of climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”

Courtenay’s OCP is entering the final phases of development, and will be available for public review by May. Plan adoption is anticipated by the end of summer.

The Global Covenant of Mayors Canada is a collaboration between the FCM, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the Global Covenant of Mayors Secretariat and the International Urban Co-operation Project supported by funding from the European Union.

To get notified when the Draft OCP will be available for public review, sign up for the Courtenay OCP Update newsletter. Learn more about the OCP process at www.courtenay.ca/OCPupdate or call 250-703-4839.

Bob Wells

Mayor, City of Courtenay