Dawson City aims to cut fuel, electricity use by 3%

Town council in Dawson City, Yukon, have agreed to a series of initiatives meant to reduce the town's environmental footprint, including cutting back on fuel use, giving preference to greener businesses and contractors, and getting rid of water coolers.

"Climate change is happening, it's a reality," said Mayor Wayne Potoroka.

"I think there are ways we as individuals, and as organizations like municipalities and other levels of government, can reduce the impact that we're having on the environment."

A resolution on climate action was passed unanimously at council's last meeting. Potoroka said it's timely as the town is about to begin its budget-planning process.

"It details the concrete actions we intend to take, in the short term anyways, to help reduce our contribution to climate change — and also get us on a path towards greening our municipal operations in the long term."

Town staff have been directed to measure the town's annual consumption of electricity and fuel, and find ways to cut those figures by at least three per cent, next year.

"A target is, I think, always a nice thing for folks to work with," Potoroka said. "We're really looking forward to hearing from our managers and how they intend to do it." 

Meagan Deuling/CBC

Town staff will also be required to factor environment costs into any recommendations or briefing notes given to councillors. When contracts are awarded, preference would be given to businesses that limit emissions and prioritize green business practices. 

The town will also divert any carbon tax rebates it receives over the next 5 years into a special reserve fund "to green our operations," Potoroka said.

The resolution also says the town will remove water coolers from all municipal buildings, and introduce compost collection. 

"This is just a start. We need to start doing a better job of reducing our impact on the environment," Potoroka said. 

At the same meeting, council gave first reading to a bylaw that would ban single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, polystyrene cups and take-out containers.