We asked the Saanich mayor and council candidates to provide their thoughts and strategies on climate change.
David Cubberley, mayoral candidate:
Climate change is a serious challenge that requires a more integrated response from municipalities. There’s a legally binding requirement from BC to reduce emissions by one-third by 2020. Given that at least two-thirds of our carbon emissions come from vehicles, this means we have to effect significant shifts away from total SOV reliance. Transit, walking and cycling can be grown substantially to meet these targets – but each requires new infrastructure in order to build capacity and attract users. We need to plan for these changes and approach our provincial and federal partners for resources to help make them happen.
Frank Leonard, mayoral candidate:
Saanich has been carbon neutral for four years; we have adopted a Climate Change Plan and a Climate Adaptation Plan. We have the regions first electric car, an electric Zamboni, installed heating and lighting upgrades in our buildings and are aiming for Zero-Waste at the Municipal Hall. We are committed to continuing to lead with these award winning policies and programs.
Susan Brice, council candidate:
While we made progress in this past term both municipally and regionally; measurable change in emission reductions has been slower than planned. Corporately, Saanich has set targets and met those targets. However from the community at large, and this is the major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, there will need to be significant investments in retro-fitting existing buildings, transitioning from single occupancy vehicles and programs on resource management. It is encouraging to note that new buildings in Saanich generally meet a built green standard and often strive to achieve an equivalent to LEED Gold. This term of office we adopted an urban forest strategy, protected Haro Woods and purchased Panama Flats; all vital in our planning for a sustainable Saanich.
Judy Brownoff, council candidate:
Saanich actually is a leader when it comes to reducing our impacts on the environment and creating opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint. What we are finding is that when we retrofit our facilities we now see a reduction of operating costs. We have an adopted Climate Action Plan, with targets and initiatives that are tied to our Strategic Plan, budget and Annual Report. We now have an adopted Adaptation Plan which highlights municipal infrastructure and environment that could be impacted through climate changes, like severe rains, winds and it will help us move forward to protect these valuable assets.
Vic Derman, council candidate:
Climate change is an extremely important issue. The longer we wait to fully react, the worse consequences will be. Planning to adapt to a changing climate is essential. We have already produced enough greenhouse gases to insure a changing climate for the next 30 -40 years. Mitigation, which involves reducing the gases we produce, is even more essential. Without it, consequences will be so severe that adaptation will be difficult or impossible. Virtually every decision we make should be influenced by the need to address this particularly pressing issue.
Paul Gerrard, council candidate:
Saanich has adopted and surpassed our greenhouse gas reduction targets and a Climate Action Plan to help us meet emission targets. We have programs to encourage efficient new construction and building retrofits, and programs for solar hot water heaters, green home building rebates, and tap by tap water consumption. We have installed a solar hot water system at Gordon Head Recreation Centre, an electric zamboni at Pearkes Arena, and the region’s first electric car. We have also instituted the region’s first Climate Change Adaptation Plan that identifies local climate change risks, and offers some preventative measures.
Ingrid Ip, council candidate:
I believe that the single biggest contributor to climate change in Saanich is the emissions on our roadways. We lag far behind many communities world wide in terms of what old exhaust producing vehicles we allow on our roads. The plumes of smoke from trucks or from poor exhausts on cars make it uncomfortable for pedestrians, cyclists and even those driving behind them. I would also like to see a ban of indoor burning except gas fired units from May to September.
Dean Murdock, council candidate:
Our temperate climate and abundant natural beauty make Saanich a great place to live. The global climate is under threat and we must take local actions to combat climate change to preserve the remarkable climate we all enjoy. Nearly two-thirds of our emissions come from automobiles. Cutting those emissions requires investment in better public transit, sidewalks, bike lanes and trails. We have to raise our green building standards, create rebates and incentives for residential energy-saving renovations, create incentives for green residential and commercial development projects, and discourage further sprawl by encouraging development in major centres.
Vicki Sanders, council candidate:
I have used my time as the Chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee for the past 6 years, to apply a lens of climate action throughout all of Council’s activities. The single most important thing Council can do to address Climate Change and reduce the municipalities emission of greenhouse gases is to ensure we provide the support for residents to use alternate transportation—sidewalks, bike lanes, reliable, appropriately scheduled transit, developments 3 of 3 that include car shares. Our municipal fleet of vehicles includes electric and hybrid cars and trucks operating on bio-diesel fuel.
Nichola Wade, council candidate:
As the Executive Director, Carbon Neutral Government & Community Engagement at the Climate Action Secretariat, I proudly led the Climate Action Charter for local government. Saanich was one of the first signatories to the charter and has shown great leadership. We now have the opportunity to build on this success, to show leadership and literally act locally while thinking globally. The key to any climate change initiative is the implementation of climate change plans. While planning is critical, action is key.
Leif Wergeland, council candidate:
The problem is real, the problem is here and to do nothing is not an option. Climate change is not just on issues and concern for “big business” but for our communities and us individually. To lesson our impact on climate and to adjust to climate change on us – we will have to change and adjust in almost every area of our lives (where we travel, how we travel, how we built our homes, where we buy our food, how we manage our natural environment, etc. It’s not a question of if we will change but rather how and when.
Rob Wickson, council candidate:
We have to address climate change locally as well as globally. Saanich needs to carefully look at reducing carbon emissions by addressing the transportation problems of our region. This means working with all our neighbouring municipalities.
Harald Wolf, council candidate:
As has been reflected by Saanich planning, climate change breaks down into actions to reduce our contribution, and adaption to inevitable impacts on our Region. Unfortunately, the actions have largely taken the form of creative accounting, and rhetoric. The evidence on the street clearly shows Saanichites are driving more than ever, and continue to pursue other highly unsustainable lifestyles. Adaption should be planning more aggressively for the inevitable days when we will need to provide for ourselves and each other much more than we do now. It means will need much tighter-knit, walkable communities.