Climate Action Leaders Announced
Victoria, Saanich, West Vancouver, Kamloops, the Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation, and the First Nations Leadership Council were all recognized for outstanding community leadership in climate action during the annual Climate & Energy Action Awards presented at the 2022 Union of BC Municipalities Convention.
2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the awards program, which is presented by the Community Energy Association in association with multiple sponsors: The Government of BC, BC Hydro, FortisBC, the Real Estate Foundation of BC, and UBCM.
Celebrating Climate Work at the Local Level
We’ve heard that “local governments are on the front lines of climate action” (CleanBC Roadmap to 2030) and that “cities are on the leading edge of climate action” (C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group) but sometimes local governments are challenged to balance climate action with myriad other responsibilities. And knowing what needs to be done to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions can be very different from actually implementing solutions. In these cases, the practical experiences of other local governments can be invaluable.
Enter the CEA Climate & Energy Awards. Beyond recognizing individual communities for leadership, the awards program attracts submissions from all over BC that demonstrate local success. They prove that beyond possibly winning a plaque from CEA, the real reward for climate action is fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Here is a judge’s-eye view of all 17 nominations!
Greater Victoria District 2030 – The City of Victoria and the District of Saanich are working with the owners/managers of 37 local commercial buildings to meet new targets for energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission reduction.
Kamloops Big Move Investments – In order to fund priorities in the new Kamloops Climate Action Plan and to reduce local GHG emissions, the City has implemented a Climate Action Levy of 0.35% on its civic tax roll, providing an estimated $24 million in funding over the next 10 years.
Kelowna 2040 – In combining its long-term transportation and community land use plans, Kelowna 2040 is shaping how the community will grow, commute, and interact – ultimately helping in the transition to a low-carbon community that is resilient to the impacts of climate change.
City of Nelson’s Material Carbon Emissions Guide – Developed as a resource for municipal staff, builders, homeowners, and others, this guide provides information and easy-to-understand graphics comparing the embodied emissions associated with different types of materials (such as concrete, insulation, and cladding) and the importance of considering embodied emissions as a part of building design and planning.
New West’s Seven Bold Steps – Subsequent to declaring a climate emergency, the City of New Westminster rolled out Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action that serves as a manifesto for the City and its residents, and led to a Climate Action Budgeting Framework that helps to actualize the goals of the Seven Bold Steps.
Penticton Blue Skies Public Engagement for Climate Action – Following a hot and smoke-filled summer, the City of Penticton conducted a public engagement campaign called ‘Blue Skies’ to gain feedback on the City’s draft Community Climate Action Plan. It involved engaging with more than 500 young people between grades 3-12 in five local schools, ultimately leading to more ambitious local targets than had been initially proposed.
Powell River Zunga Bus and Transit Analysis – Challenged with the vicious cycle of low ridership leading to unattractive transit service, Powell River implemented an on-demand, micro-transit service that complemented some of the existing transit routes in order to reduce wait times and increase service speed and frequency.
Surrey EV Infrastructure Analysis – This project takes a neighbourhood approach to electric vehicle charging infrastructure, incorporating various data – population, zoning and housing types, future development, vehicle ownership, EV adoption, travel patterns, etc. – and financial analysis to determine optimum locations for public charging to support EV adoption and achieve GHG reduction targets.
Tofino Electric Summer Shuttle – Operating since 2008 to transport visitors from Tofino to a popular nearby beach area, the diesel-burning Summer Shuttle has been replaced by an electric bus, resulting in a quieter, zero emissions service that has removed nearly nine tonnes of carbon emissions.
Vernon Climate Action Plan – Recognizing that many initiatives to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions rely on the participation of residents, Vernon recruited 30 local Climate Ambassadors who were trained to approach climate change with plain language and facilitate climate conversations within their own organizations and networks.
Retrofit Assist in Squamish and Whistler – Serving as a concierge connecting homeowners, energy advisors, and contractors, this pilot project in Squamish and Whistler aims to make it easy for residents to swap out fossil fuel heating systems for an electric heat pump and consequently reduce emissions and make homes healthier. More than 50 inquiries were received in the first week following the program's launch.
Port Moody Low Carbon Resilient Climate Action Plan, Phase One Implementation Strategy, and Annual Report – After completing a climate action plan that incorporates both greenhouse gas mitigation as well as climate change adaptation in a low-carbon resilience framework, Port Moody has produced its first Climate Action Report, highlighting progress on implementation of the Plan’s priority actions.
District of West Vancouver Foreshore Development Permit Area and Sea Level Rise Adaptation Policy – As climate change causes increased risk of sea level rise and coastal flooding, West Vancouver has adopted guidelines that require new homes to be built at an elevation above the risk of coastal flooding, minimizing the risk to people and their homes while protecting the natural foreshore environment.
UBC Future Climate Residential Building Design Requirements – New residential buildings at the Point Grey campus are now required to be able to maintain comfort and safety under summer climate conditions that are predicted to increase over the next three decades because of climate change. The “2050 Future Climate-Ready” resources and future weather models are available to communities around the province.
Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation Community Leadership in Climate Change Adaptation, Bioenergy, and Bioeconomy – Located nearly 200km west of Quesnel, Kluskus Indian Reserve #1 is reliant on trucked-in fossil fuels for heat and electricity and surrounded by wildfire risk posed by the mountain pine beetle infestation. In response, the Nation is aiming to utilize available forest resources to provide power and heat for the community, reducing GHG emissions while creating energy independence and new economic opportunities.
BC First Nations Climate Strategy and Action Plan – The First Nations Leadership Council established a first-of-its-kind Climate Strategy and Action Plan. Published in the spring of 2022, the plan outlines a vision, five guiding principles, four priority pathways for climate action, and 20 urgent calls for climate action–all recognizing that Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories are disproportionately affected by climate change more than any other group in Canada.
City of Victoria Green Fleet Plan – In order to achieve a 60% reduction in emissions from the City of Victoria’s fleet of more than 400 vehicles, the City will electrify 143 vehicles over the next nine years and identify underutilized vehicles that can be removed from the fleet or even be replaced with pooled electric vehicles or electric cargo bikes.
Congratulations to all of the nominees!
More about the Climate & Energy Action Awards
The Climate & Energy Action Awards showcase climate action in communities across British Columbia. CEA runs this program because:
- We all need a space to celebrate the progress local governments and Indigenous communities are making in creating low-carbon, resilient communities
- Big or small, urban or rural, north and south, we want to recognize all communities that are bringing innovative solutions to the table
- Recognizing where we've been allows us to look forward and embrace the decade of climate action
- Showcasing programs and projects with high-impact solutions means that other communities can learn and replicate successful initiatives
To receive notification for updates on the Climate & Energy Action Awards please sign up to receive our e-newsletter.
Our Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation
CEA is honoured to celebrate with communities. We recognize that the projects and initiatives take place on the traditional territories of Indigenous communities across British Columbia. CEA is committed to the principles of Truth and Reconciliation. As an organization, we support the Calls to Action released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and recognize the importance of the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples as articulated in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Learn more here.
Community Planning & Development
This is the biggest category because the actions involved have the biggest impact community-wide. Winners of this category will take home the prestigious Climate & Energy Action Award Trophy. Projects and programs in this category include widespread planning and implementation of GHG-reducing solutions.
City of Richmond, District Energy Implementation Program, 2021
District of Saanich, 2020 Climate Plan: 100% Renewable & Resilient Saanich, 2020
City of Richmond, EV Ready Leadership, 2019
City of Victoria, All Ages & Abilities Bicycle Network, 2018
The Corporate Operations category profiles local governments that know how to “walk the walk” and are demonstrated leaders when it comes to implementing in their own work.
District of Summerland, Low Carbon & Renewable Energy Project Implementation, 2021
City of Powell River, Climate Action in a Small Coastal Town, 2020
Village of Granisle, Biomass Energy System, 2019
District of Hudson’s Hope, Solar Initiative, 2018
Climate Adaptation was added as a category in 2019, as an important way to recognize communities who are pushing the envelope in this growing field.
District of North Vancouver and the North Shore Partners, North Shore Sea Level Rise Risk Assessment and Adaptive Management Strategy, 2021
Cowichan Valley Regional District, Climate Risk Assessment Framework for Infrastructure, 2020
City of Surrey, Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy, 2019
Previous Winners & Nominees