Small steps to move the Earth

Earth Day events encourage people and governments to make change, one small step at a time

David Cleaver is happy to receive a strawberry plant from KAIROS member Betty DeBruih.

David Cleaver is happy to receive a strawberry plant from KAIROS member Betty DeBruih.

It’s the small steps people take to make a difference to protect our planet and the Town of Qualicum Beach has been working on a number of green initiatives.

At an Earth Day ceremony on April 21 chief administrative officer Mark Brown outlined several things the Town has done to reduce pollution and to utilize renewable alternative sources of energy.

He said in May 2007 the town became a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Partners for Climate Protection Program.

In September 2007 the town signed a Province of BC Climate Action Charter mandating the municipality to achieve carbon neutral operations by 2012.

In May 2010 the sustainability plan was adopted by council and in May 2011 the sustainability plan principles were incorporated into Official Community Plan.  He said OCP implementation measures contain many initiatives to address climate change.

In March 2008  he said the town staff formed a green team and working with council their accomplishments include:

Bike to Work Week and also a bike locker built in the town hall parkade resulting in several staff biking to work almost every day; an Anti-Idling Bylaw adopted by Council reducing greenhouse gas emissions; participation in the BC Hydro Turn it Off Challenge in which the town won an award.

Brown said Qualicum Beach is a leader in Canada in implementing LED lighting, with various types of LED streetlights from different companies installed on a test basis at numerous intersections, including the recently constructed round-about at Rupert and Memorial Avenue.

He stated the town has partnered with the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) in such initiatives as Team Watersmart and offered a toilet rebate program as an incentive to convert to low-flush toilets

“The town is just announcing a dishwasher and washing machine rebate program along with BC Hydro and Fortis BC. These rebate programs not only result in saving energy and water but also reduce the flows to the French Creek sewage treatment plant,” he said.

He added the town was also a leader in the food waste collection service with the pilot program being introduced very successfully thanks to the residents of the Chartwell area.

The town motto on electric vehicles is Community Leaders for Clean Air and he said Qualicum Beach became the second municipality in B.C. (next to Oak Bay) to adopt a low speed electric vehicle bylaw when council did so in November 2008.

“This bylaw allows the electric vehicles with a maximum speed of 40 km/h to travel on the municipal roads.”

Qualicum Beach is a member of the Fraser Basin Council Climate Change and Air Quality Green Fleets BC E3 Fleet program, with initiatives to green the fleet.

Brown, along with Qualicum Beach Council, met with the president of BC Hydro and their electric vehicle program directors at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference and became a pilot local government for small to mid-sized communities joining BC Hydro, the City of Vancouver and Saanich.

“The Town became the first municipality in Canada to license a left hand drive 100 per cent electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV which is now used on a daily basis by the building inspector,” he said.

He pointed to the Town’s partnership with Jordan Schley of QBGreen.ca to jointly fund an electric vehicle charging station at the parkade shared with Qualicum Foods and the Seniors’ Centre as another example of how the Town is reducing it’s carbon footprint.

“There are four charging stations in the underground parking area at the Town Hall and plans are to install a charging station along Highway 19A at the waterfront.”

He told the crowd that he was honoured to be able to help bring innovative initiatives such as the Public Private Partnership (P3) Town Hall/Library/Public Square to fruition, one of only two in Canada along with Moncton, NB.

He said recently council adopted a resolution to authorize staff to submit a grant application to study the implementation of a geothermal/district energy system for the Civic Centre and Ravensong Aquatic Centre.

“Earlier this year I was invited to speak at a sustainability conference to talk about many of the topics that I have described today along with the CAO from the Town of Ladysmith that has also implemented a number of sustainability initiatives including food waste collection and they also have a municipal green team.

“I am very thankful to have had the opportunity today to proudly share with everyone here the innovative and leading programs and policies that council and staff have initiated and implemented in the Town of Qualicum Beach for the benefit of the citizens of our community.”

 

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