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PoCo pushes big green goals

Significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and the protection of forested areas, watercourses and shorelines are just some of the objectives outlined in Port Coquitlam’s draft environmental strategic plan.

The document, which will serve as a blueprint for achieving the city’s environmental goals, also calls for increased waste diversion and encourages local agriculture and food production.

Igor Zahynacz, the city’s director of engineering, said the plan amalgamates many of the city’s programs into one document and will guide the city in land-use and other decisions. “This is the first time all these initiatives have been placed into one report,” he said. “We are rolling it out now through the various programs but it is on a more co-ordinated basis.”

One of the goals outlined in the plan calls for a 20% greenhouse gas reduction from 2007 levels from the municipality’s operations and an 8% GHG drop city-wide by 2017.

Residents, industry and commercial businesses are expected to reduce their water consumption by 30% and the city has set the target for waste diversion at 80% by 2020.

Under the draft environmental strategic plan, the city must avoid any net loss of forest, watercourse and foreshore habitats. In situations where a loss of habitat is unavoidable, the city will look at ways of mitigating the damage or creating more habitat in another area.

But while the plan focuses on the city’s operations, residents will also be relied upon to achieve some of the goals. Urban agriculture is a large component of the report and while the city can provide green spaces for food production, it will be up to residents to take the time to grow their own vegetables.

“Most of the city is urban so we want to encourage urban agriculture,” Zahynacz said. “Whether people have vegetable gardens at home or [are] buying local. Also, in the rural areas that are still agricultural, we need to maintain those areas as well.”

Eight pillars are outlined in the plan:

• Live, which focuses on land use and neighbourhood design;

• Move, which focuses on transportation;

• Green, which looks at outdoor space, wildlife habitat and urban agriculture;

• Build, which focuses on building standards and energy efficiency;

• Flow, which outlines water conservation and rain water management;

• Reduce, which looks at reduction in materials and resource management;

• Prosper, which outlines ways businesses and the economy can be greener;

• and Manage, a pillar that looks at improving environmental efficiencies in the city’s operations.

The plan was brought before the city’s environment committee Tuesday and is expected to come before the full council at a future meeting. For more information on the plan, go to www.portcoquitlam.ca/enviroplan.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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