North Cowichan achieves climate action milestone

"We’re very serious about climate protection work and have a great plan in place." - Mayor Jon Lefebure

The Municipality of North Cowichan’s commitment to taking action against climate change has been recognized by achieving milestone four of the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program.

This milestone — implementation of actions identified in an adopted local area plan — is based on the work North Cowichan has done to implement its award-winning Climate Action and Energy Plan, which specifies the goals of a 33-per-cent reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 2025 and an 80-per-cent reduction by 2050.

The PCP program, which is a Federation of Canadian Municipalities initiative, empowers municipalities to take action against climate change through a five-milestone process.

The program guides members in creating GHG inventories, setting realistic and achievable GHG reduction targets, developing local action plans, and implementing plans using specific, measurable actions to reduce emissions.

“Reaching milestone four is a significant achievement,” Mayor Jon Lefebure said in a press release. “Out of the 270 local governments across the country that are involved in this program, 25 have achieved milestone four in the areas of both corporate infrastructure and community initiatives aimed at achieving GHG emission and energy reduction targets. That puts us in the top 10 per cent.

“We’re very serious about climate protection work and have a great plan in place. We hosted the Community for Climate Household Challenge, and municipal staff is in the early stages of establishing a ‘green team’ that will explore sustainable practices across all municipal facilities.”

This year, the municipality will continue to implement the Climate Action and Energy Plan and work to achieve milestone five of the PCP by:

• exploring the potential of adopting an energy incentive rebate program;

• researching the possible adoption of policies and regulations intended to reduce community electrical consumption;

• facilitating opportunities to install renewable energy sources;

• working with BC Hydro to ensure compliance with the new energy aspects of the BC Building Code;

• investigating alternative financing mechanisms to enable homeowners to fund home energy improvements;

• implementing a five-year LED streetlight replacement program; and

• completing energy efficient mechanical and lighting upgrades at a number of Municipal buildings (as recommended in BC Hydro sponsored energy audits that were completed by a third party consultant).

PCP is a network of Canadian municipal governments that have committed to reducing GHGs and to acting on climate change.

Since the program’s inception in 1994, 270 municipalities have joined PCP and made a public commitment to reduce emissions, according to the press release from North Cowichan.