Seldom-heard applause followed a resolution in Salmon Arm council chambers on Monday, Aug. 26.
Council had just listened to a presentation from Trish Dehnel with the Community Energy Association on climate action planning and what can be done to expand on the good steps she said are already being taken by the city.
The association is a not-for-profit organization that came out of the Union of BC Municipalities with the purpose of advising and supporting local governments on climate and energy.
Coun. Sylvia Lindgren, chair of the city’s Environmental Advisory Committee, made a motion that the city engage the association to prepare a climate action plan for the city.
Dehnel had given examples of several actions the city could take, for different price tags, to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.
After much discussion and debate on which option the city should take, whether the plan should be deferred two weeks or approved immediately, or whether it should be single-sourced or sent out for proposals, council voted unanimously to go for the Community Energy Plan at $15,000. It was chosen over the Corporate Energy Plan, also $15,000, and the Climate Action Package, at $50,000, which includes the two previous plans plus an ‘energy scan’/project feasibility study.
Dehnel explained that the Community Energy Plan would involve the association meeting with city staff, doing background research and compiling a guest list for a one-day workshop for stakeholders in the community. A preliminary webinar would be provided to give background.
She described an exercise that is often done – giving energy options and having participants decide where on a timeline they should be placed.
She said the meeting could likely take place in November. Based on that timeline, the plan could be complete before the new year.
Mayor Alan Harrison asked about involving the public in general and she said the workshop can be opened up, but it is easier if organizers know how many are coming.
Coun. Chad Eliason said he’d also like to see the city’s Strategic Plan revised to include climate change actions.
Coun Louise Wallace Richmond’s comments were met with applause when, after more than an hour of deliberation, she pointed out the source – the city’s environment committee, a committee of volunteers, which had come to council, asking members to take action on climate change and to hire a non-profit expert to help council learn what the community needs are.
She suggested action.
“We need to get moving and need to keep moving.”
About 40 people were present in council chambers when council voted unanimously to take $15,000 from the city’s climate action reserve to hire the Community Energy Association to develop a Community Energy Plan specific to Salmon Arm.
They applauded happily.