LETTER: City has a good start on environmental change, but it could be better

The scientific evidence is overwhelming…

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)

To the Editor,

The scientific evidence is overwhelming that the world as we know it is threatened by the human caused climate emergency. There is an encouraging rising tide of voices world wide demanding real solutions while governments and corporations fail to move with courage and conviction or deny the science altogether. However here on Vancouver Island we have city councils with vision in Victoria, Colwood, Sidney, Esquimalt, Gulf Islands, Duncan, Nanaimo and Powell River that have declared an emergency and are developing responsive bylaws, building codes and land use plans. In Nanaimo the city council joined with Victoria in endorsing a resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities calling on the provincial government to develop a circular economy strategy.

While Port Alberni has not yet come on board with these other councils we have much to be proud of: once our new effluent treatment is operational it will be a state-of-the-art facility at a fraction of the cost due to acquiring the land for a dollar. The city corporation reduced emissions by 18 percent according to the 2015 Sustainability Report, the recycling and composting programs will reduce emissions and waste and extend the life of our landfill while saving the cost of having to capture GHGs on site. Initiatives like the Shelter Farm apprentice program build local resiliency and food security. The proposed net zero housing for Maitland Street shows the way forward in both social justice and environmental responsibility.

Much is being done but there is so much more that needs doing. Transportation alone is going to be a huge issue moving forward as we shift from fossil fuels. We have seven EV charging stations. Tofino, with an official population of 2,000, has 10. We have an opportunity to become a progressive and forward thinking community with our upcoming Official Community Plan update. Everything needs to be looked at through the lens of the emergency we face and the changes required of all of us to ensure a liveable future for the next generations.

David S. Morton,

Port Alberni

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