The City of Quesnel is hoping to reduce its emissions and is asking for the public’s input on its plans.
The city has released its 2020 Climate Action Plan, alongside an online survey to get public feedback.
“The development of this plan is a big step forward, and we want the community to be a part of the process towards determining what climate actions will be undertaken here in Quesnel,” a news release reads. “As a community, we need to continue the conversation and increase stakeholder involvement and participation in existing and novel ways.”
The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, a University of Victoria group studying climate change in the region, is cited in the plan, identifying three risk factors for Quesnel related to climate change.
A decrease in snow pack could reduce the winter logging season, with winter tourist industries also suffering. An increase in temperature puts the region at risk of dangerous forest fires. Finally, flooding may increase, meaning the city could be forced to abandon some lands or increase maintenance costs.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) estimates local governments have influence over half of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada.
“By adopting practices that reduce GHG emissions, municipalities can improve the quality of life of their residents while saving money in operation and energy costs,” the FCM’s website reads.
The city’s climate action plan was funded through money from the FCM.
The report includes an inventory of what in Quesnel is responsible for excess emissions, with suggestions and plans regarding how to reduce each one.
The city’s own operations are primarily in transportation, with nearly 70 per cent of emissions related to transportation fuel. The other 30 per cent is building heat and electricity.
To reduce these emissions, the city is planning on tracking city vehicles to reduce emissions, purchasing an electric vehicle and investigating other electric options for equipment.
For heat and electricity, the city is planning on reducing the set temperature at night at city hall to see what difference that will make for energy consumption and is committing to energy-efficient construction, among other things.
While the city can’t directly control emissions in the community, it is hoping to affect change for the better with policies.
According to the report, over half of community emissions are residential fuel and electricity. Commercial fuel and electricity makes up 38 per cent of emissions. Heating buildings throughout both residential and commercial makes up 38 per cent of emissions as well, with solid waste accounting for the remaining five per cent.
Much of the plans to reduce community emissions come in the form of campaigns and encouragement. The city is planning on adding more electric car charging stations and encouraging people to drive less by taking public transportation or using active transportation.
The city is also planning on using a thermal imaging camera to identify buildings with excess heat loss. Special loans called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) are available. The PACE program allows property owners to finance energy improvements and pay back the loan through property taxes.
“To realize the level of GHG emission reductions committed to by the city, it will take action at the community, provincial and national level,” the report reads. “Locally, we will need to leverage our collective knowledge, partnerships, networks, resources and leadership. The development of this plan is a considerable step, and we want the community to be a part of the process towards determining what climate actions will be undertaken here in our northern forestry based community.”
The full report is available on the city’s website at quesnel.ca, including a cost estimate of each potential program.
The city’s climate change survey will be active until Jan. 29, 2021.
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