After a month of discussion, the Qualicum School District board has voted against a motion that looked at not supporting field trips requiring air travel because of their environmental impact - Cloe Logan photo

Qualicum school board votes against motion of non-support for field trips requiring air travel

New climate change committee set to make recommendations to the district by February 2020

The Qualicum School District has voted against a controversial motion concerning not supporting out-of-province field trips because of their environmental impact.

Instead of the motion, which was voted against 3-2, the board is putting together a climate action committee to give recommendations in February 2020 on how the school district can reduce its ecological footprint. Although it’s unclear exactly what that will look like, trustee Barry Kurland said he hopes it includes working with the local Indigenous community and getting their input.

The proposed motion was initially brought forward by Kurland in September. It reads, “that the school board of SD69 (Qualicum), will not condone or sanction long distance, category 4 and 5 (from the SD69 policy 5020) field trips.” Such field trips are ones requiring off-continent or out-of-province travel.

Since, there has been discussion from students, teachers and the board about how significant the environmental impact of these trips really is, and if it makes the experience worth missing out on.

READ MORE: Controversial SD69 discussions continue regarding field trips requiring air travel

Questions have been raised about other areas where the school district could lessen their environment impact. In addition, students expressed at a recent education committee of the whole meeting they felt it was unfair for them to take on the onus of the district’s climate change contribution.

Three field trips were discussed independent of the motion: a Kwalikum Secondary School band trip to Calgary in May 2020; a KSS trip to Belize during spring break 2020 and a KSS trip to Japan during spring break 2020.

The trips to Japan and Calgary were approved, but the Belize trip was unanimously turned down. The Japan trip had already been given primary approval, but the Belize trip was in its first stage with the board.

Kurland said that was a main reason for the Belize trip being the only one rejected at the meeting.

“This is for preliminary approval, it’s not like we’ve given it preliminary and now there’s final approval,” he said. “This is what our process is.”

Trips were already individually looked at by the school board, so it’s now possible they could still be denied based on their environmental impact, but there is no longer a motion on the table which would blanket reject all out of province trips.

READ MORE: Qualicum school district considers eliminating field trips requiring air travel

Kurland brought up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to emphasize why he still believes in his motion. The IPCC reported in 2018 that we have 12 years to make urgent changes to avoid a climate change disaster.

“That’s one little kid’s cycle in this system, is 12 years,” he said.

Eve Flynn, trustee and chair of the school board, said she voted against the motion because she felt like it wasn’t grasping the bigger picture of climate change.

“I think definitely the carbon output from plane travel is a piece of a very, very large pie,” she said.

Even though she voted against the motion, she’s glad it’s been the catalyst for the climate action committee, which she thinks will bring some vital change to the district.

“I think it’s discussion that is needing to, definitely needing to, be had, but on a broader base,” she said. “I think we can be more comprehensive and thoughtful.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Parksville soccer player invited to elite soccer academy in Portugal

Wylee Frank aspires to become a professional player

Regional District of Nanaimo to start delivering new garbage carts

Updated automated curbside collection service set to get underway Oct. 1

Qualicum Beach volunteer Mark Watson honoured for 30 years of service at fire hall

‘He has such a good spirit in everything that he does’

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Comox’s Kassidy Stewart takes Miss Teen BC title

She is set now to compete in nationals this summer

Island Health provides Baby Beds for infants

A safe place for baby to sleep is key to reduce sleep-related deaths

Shopping resumes aboard Nanaimo ferry sailings

B.C. Ferries reopens gift shops on Queen of Cowichan and Queen of Oak Bay

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Most Read