Saanich council is squaring up to fight climate change with a new climate plan.
At a meeting on Jan. 28, councillors discussed and endorsed the 2020 climate plan, referred to as 100% Renewable and Resilient Saanich. The plan is a response to the District’s declaration of a climate emergency in March 2019 and the climate targets adopted in August 2019.
Through the Climate Plan: 100% Renewable and Resilient #Saanich, we are taking action to improve our quality of life, protect our community, and reduce local and global risks associated with a changing climate.https://t.co/heEWHYo2om pic.twitter.com/I2ajC8WM9Y
— District of Saanich (@saanich) January 29, 2020
The plan includes 131 actions to reduce the risks associated with climate change on local and global levels, improve quality of life for residents, save money, cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050, prepare for a changing climate and transition t0 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.
According to the District, 40 per cent of the actions are either currently being executed or can be delivered by the existing staff.
District staff determined that transportation and the use of fossil fuels in homes are the largest sources of greenhouse gas in Saanich. In an effort to combat this, the plan suggests removing oil tanks to reduce the risk of spills and the subsequent cleanup costs, planting more trees throughout the municipality to improve air quality, creating roadways that are safer for all road users and making the transition to electric vehicles to reduce air and noise pollution.
The plan also outlines the financial and personnel resources required to execute the prioritized list of actions. In 2020 alone, the plan is expected to cost $2.5 million and require two new full-time positions. The financial implications of the 100% Renewable and Resilient Saanich plan will be considered in the District’s 2020 budget deliberations.
“Saanich is committed to our climate goals, but we need help from the community,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes. “The time to act is now.”
Individuals are encouraged to use the Saanich Carbon Calculator – accounting for vehicle and air travel, hydro bills, fossil fuel consumption and waste habits – to find out how many tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions they create annually. Then, steps can be taken “community-wide” to reduce emissions, Haynes explained. He noted that incentives, education and financing options are in the works.