Port Moody residents, businesses and even the city’s own government need to be fully committed to combatting climate change if they’re to avoid the consequences of rising sea levels, a decreasing supply of fresh water, more extreme storms and hotter, drier summers that increase the risk of wildfires and respiratory ailments caused by their smoke, according to a report.
Tuesday, council will be presented with the city’s climate action plan that aims to achieve a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and full carbon neutrality by 2050.
The plan has been in the works since 2018 and received added urgency last year when the city was among the first in Metro Vancouver to declare a climate emergency.
In her report, Port Moody’s sustainability and energy coordinator Laura Sampliner said the plan “represents the next level of commitment to respond to climate change.”
It identifies 54 areas where the city can reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as heighten its preparation for future climate scenarios.
Sampliner said while several initiatives are already underway, others will evolve and accelerate as technology improves.
“The carbon neutral pathway demonstrates that there is a lot of work to do in the next decade,” she said. “Continued bold efforts will be necessary to achieve emissions reduction targets and increase resilience.”
Those could require “financial dedication, compromise and other methods,” she added, and will likely create a “new sense of normal for humankind and for our community.”
The payoff, though, could be more jobs, economic stimulus and an improved ecosystem.
“By undertaking proactive planning for climate change, we can ensure that opportunities and benefits are harnessed in the face of drastic change wherever possible,” Sampliner said.
Among the plan’s recommendations are:
- Integrate consideration of climate change into all city processes like budget planning, stormwater management, etc.
- Develop landscaping strategies for public lands that are resilient to climate change, as well as a green infrastructure program.
- Implement strategies to protect, restore and connect environmentally sensitive areas, as well as manage invasive species.
- Phased implementation of water metering on all properties.
- Ensure the city is adequately staffed and equipped to respond to extreme weather events.
- Create policy that encourages development of complete, compact communities that allow residents to easily access all their daily needs, target transportation hubs for development of dense, mixed-use neighbourhoods, and aim for the acquisition of park land on an ongoing basis.
- Conduct climate audits on all civic buildings and develop a green buildings policy for the construction and renovation of city facilities.
- Consider the creation of pedestrian priority zones.
- Develop a zero-waste strategy for the community, as well as city facilities and events.
In her report, Sampliner said city staff are in the process of prioritizing elements of the plan that can be implemented in its first two years, as well as determining requirements for funding, resources, and ways to track their progress. She said that strategy should be ready for council’s consideration in the fall.