No go in PoCo for Force of Nature climate demands

A group advocating for climate change action walked away empty-handed from Port Coquitlam city hall this week after committee of council failed to back its motion.

A group advocating for climate change action walked away empty-handed from Port Coquitlam city hall Tuesday after committee of council failed to back its motion.

To date, the Force of Nature Alliance has gained support from eight municipalities — including Port Moody — and Metro Vancouver to adopt the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recommended emission goals, which call for net zero emissions by 2050. Force of Nature has also received endorsements from councils in Vancouver, North Vancouver (district and city), Richmond and, most recently, New Westminster.

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In a delegation before Tuesday’s committee, Matt Eddy, the owner of Matteo’s Gelato, and Terry Fox secondary graduate Katelyn Maki pressed for PoCo to be a part of the alliance's campaign that’s building across the Lower Mainland. (It’s also urging Coquitlam residents to write letters to city council, via its website: forceofnaturealliance.ca.)

Maki said the group has gathered signatures in support from 900 residents and 17 businesses in PoCo, including Donald’s Market, PoCo Building Supplies and Me-n-Ed's Pizza.

But Mayor Brad West told the Force of Nature reps that PoCo has had a Climate Action Plan for a decade and it’s cutting greenhouse gases through better planning and building. He also listed more than a dozen examples of how the city has been a regional leader on the issue.

Still, West, who is on the TransLink Mayors Council, said the biggest polluter in PoCo is vehicles and council has pushed TransLink to extend the Evergreen Extension to the city as “our community has been underserved by transit for many, many decades.”

Plans are underway for a SkyTrain line to UBC on a route that sees a bus every three minutes, West pointed out, while there are parts of PoCo that don’t have a bus for an hour despite the municipality's growth.

As well, Coun. Darrell Penner said there’s a challenge is to get people out of their vehicles as 80% of working residents leave PoCo daily; he said he wants to see a “societal shift” in commuting.

West recommended Force of Nature turn its attention to senior levels of government to help municipalities reach their individual climate action targets.

Maki said she wasn’t able to give a cost if PoCo endorsed the alliance’s motion.

•••

Force of Nature Alliance’s motion for civic governments: 

• Pass a formal resolution to adopt the latest IPCC recommended greenhouse gas reduction targets of 45% below 2010 levels by 2030, 65% by 2040 and 100% by 2050 for all community-wide emissions.

• Eestablish a meaningful set of interim targets and ensure that these targets are incorporated into all forthcoming municipal planning documents, including community energy and emissions plans and official community plans.

• Direct city staff to draft a plan for annual transparent measuring and reporting on the municipality’s community emissions beginning no later than 2020, including a proposal for how these activities will be funded.

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