While the mayor of Central Saanich is pleased to see the municipality achieve carbon neutrality, more work lies ahead.
“That [carbon neutrality] is our target in our climate plan,” said Mayor Ryan Windsor. “We always have more work to do, both internally and externally, to continue to improve as a community.”
The accomplishment recognized by the standards of the Climate Action Recognition Program means the municipality will be able to brand itself carbon neutral for use on official websites and letterheads. Under the program, local governments must fulfill the public reporting requirements (including reporting progress to carbon neutrality) of the Climate Action Revenue lncentive Program (CARIP).
Central Saanich also achieved carbon neutrality in 2017, 2016 and 2015 as it has been pursuing a number of initiatives during the last decade, dating back to the adoption of the Central Saanich Energy Plan in 2008, to reduce the emissions of climate-change causing greenhouses gases (GHGs), with some voices like Coun. Zeb King calling for more action.
This achievement does not mean that all of Central Saanich has achieved carbon-neutrality. Officials generally distinguish between corporate greenhouse gas emissions and community-wide emissions, with corporate emissions representing only a relatively small share, as it is in the case of Central Saanich.
Transportation and housing account for the
One municipal area where Windsor would like to see future action concerns conversion of the vehicle fleet towards electric vehicles.
“My hope is that in the next few years, we will get the opportunity to purchase things electric pick-up trucks,” he said.
While market forces will help shape this process, the municipality must be ready to purchase those vehicles once they become available, he said.
Central Saanich, he said, is also still working on a plan that would allow Central Saanich residents to retrofit their homes.
“We don’t have a final answer to that question yet, but it is important obviously,” he said, with any future plan having to balance affordability with effectiveness.
This said, Central Saanich as municipality can only do so much to reduce GHGs, said Windsor.
“We have to look at the wider community as well,” he said. “How do we work with the broader community to improve and reduce the emissions from transportation and buildings.”