Earth Hour challenge issued

North Cowichan Council issued a challenge to its residents and businesses to participate in Earth Hour 2011.  Earth Hour will take place on Saturday, March 26, 2011, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  The request, submitted by BC Hydro, “sparked” many ideas on what to do during Earth Hour – family game night by candle light, walks around the neighbourhood and exploring new ways to reduce energy use year round.“As the municipality works towards the completion of its Climate Change Action Plan, I would like to challenge each and every resident and business to make a pledge to turn off their lights for one hour beginning at 8:30 p.m. on March 26,” urged Mayor Tom Walker.  “It’s time to be creative,” added Walker.  “We have a responsibility to conserve energy, and I know that our residents are up to the challenge.”Walker emphasized the importance of public safety – not only during Earth Hour when residents may be lighting candles – but at all times.  “Where it is possible, and without compromising the safety of our residents, North Cowichan will continue with initiatives to lower municipal energy consumption,”  Walker advised.As part of North Cowichan’s initiative to conserve energy, several municipal facilities including Fuller Lake Arena and the Cowichan Aquatic Centre are equipped with occupancy sensors.  Occupany sensors have also been included in the design of Somenos Sports Fields, and will be installed in low occupancy areas such as the field house and washrooms. Residents and businesses can register to participate in Earth Hour at www.earthhourcanada.org.  If British Columbians implemented the same conservation measures they did in 2010 for just one hour every evening, the combined savings would be enough to power close to 2,200 homes for an entire year.— Municipality of North Cowichan