Saanich has earned the nod as one of the greenest cities in Canada. Saanich was named to a list compiled by Expedia following a review of information from the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.
The ICLEI cited Saanich’s vision statement which underlines a commitment to food security through the safeguarding of agricultural land, and the promotion of community gardens and urban farming as some of the reasons behind Saanich’s selection. The Native Plant Salvage Program, tree protection bylaws and the Bowker Creek initiative were also acknowledged.
Mayor Richard Atwell said it was good news for the community. “Saanich has a lot to be proud of and it’s gratifying to be recognized for our many efforts in this way.”
Saanich Coun. Fred Haynes said council, staff and residents have put a priority on emphasizing support for environmentally sustainable programs, and the recognition from acknowledges those efforts.
“I’m sure council, staff and our residents will be delighted,” he said. “Bowker Creek has been a major undertaking that wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of dedicated hours by stakeholders, residents and volunteers. This is really for those people and it’s great to see their efforts rewarded.”
Haynes said Bowker Creek, tree preservation initiatives and other sustainability programs add to Saanich’s resilience in a world of changing climate.
The preservation and restoration of Bowker Creek from Saanich to Oak Bay is a longterm multi-jurisdictional initiative that began in 2009.
Coun. Dean Murdock echoed many of the comments from his fellow councillor.
“It’s nice to be recognized as one of the greenest cities in Canada,” he said. “A lot of things Saanich has undertaken such as protection of our urban forests and ecosystems, food security and local food production are the result of strong community support.”
Other cities earning greenest cities plaudits in B.C. include Vancouver and Kelowna. Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer and Devon made up the Alberta contingent, while North Battleford was the lone selection from Saskatchewan. Cornwall, Muskoka and Greater Sudbury represented Ontario. Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories and Whitehorse in the Yukon were also included, while Montreal was the lone choice from Quebec.
The ICLEI, formed in 1989, is a global network of 1,500 cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future.