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Pemberton’s mayor and council hear update on 2023 Climate Action Plan

The Village of Pemberton’s (VOP) mayor and council heard an update on 2023 climate action last week, as the village works towards targets set out in its 2022 Community Climate Action Plan.

The update was presented by manager of development services Scott McRae at a Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 21, and allowed council to reassess where the VOP stands in relation to those goals and reflect on work already done.

The VOP aims to meet a goal of a 50-per-cent reduction in territorial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 2007 levels by 2030, and a 100-per-cent reduction below 2007 levels by 2050.

McRae admitted Pemberton needs to prepare for the “inevitable impacts of climate,” and stressed the need to be able to deal with simultaneous hazards and rare weather events.

Given that 83 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Pemberton come from vehicles, the VOP aims to encourage alternative transportation options and the use of zero-emission vehicles.

The Village and its partners have formally submitted a funding request to the province through BC Transit to increase service hours on the 99 Commuter bus route. Electric-vehicle charging stations are also in place on Aster Street at Pioneer Park.

Further to that, the Pemberton Valley Dyking District is working with council on mitigating the risk of major flooding in the village. The need for an update of the 2013 corporate emissions plan was also highlighted.

Councillor Katrina Nightingale asked for a status report on a much-needed climate action plan coordinator for the Village. Staff said the budget is still being figured out to create and keep a coordinator employed, noting they hope to avoid a revolving-door situation in the role seen in neighbouring communities.

Mayor Mike Richman said the report suggests council is moving in the right direction.

“Seeing 83 per cent of our emissions attributed to vehicles is just mind-blowing,” he said. “It really, really reaffirms for me a bunch of the stuff that we are doing. As we are looking at developing all of these hip neighbourhoods, it is one of those more important things that we can look at.”

He added the figure should stick in people’s minds when thinking about new housing developments in the area.

“It also makes me think about when we are talking about the single biggest problem we face, which is housing,” he said. “So often, that conversation comes down to cars and how many cars we can accommodate.”

Pemberton’s mayor and council officially adopted the Community Climate Action Plan in March of 2022.

The plan outlines six “big moves” to achieve Pemberton’s climate goals: shift beyond the car—to encourage active and accessible transportation and transit; electrify transportation—to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles; step up new buildings—to enhance energy efficiency and low-carbon heating in new buildings; decarbonize existing buildings—to support deep energy retrofits and fuel switching; close the loop on waste—to divert organics and capture value from waste; and organizational leadership—to ensure climate action becomes part of regular decision making and operational processes within the Village of Pemberton.

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Roisin Cullen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Pique Newsmagazine