Courtenay continuing to reduce its footprint on environment

Wondering how Courtenay is doing in its efforts to reduce the city’s impact on the environment?

Wondering how Courtenay is doing in its efforts to reduce the city’s impact on the environment?

The municipality has issued its first State of the Environment Report with updates on targets for air quality, water consumption, transportation, land use, waste, and energy.

Peter Crawford, the City’s director of development services, said the report will help track the City’s progress.

“We are committed to making Courtenay an environmentally sustainable community,” he noted. “This is a way for us to share some of the City’s initiatives, and also clearly communicate our targets and how we are reaching them.”

The report draws on data from other agencies such as the Community Energy and Emissions Inventory from the provincial government. The State of the Environment report was formally presented to City Council earlier this month.

Most of the targets in the report have been established in either the City’s Official Community Plan or the Comox Valley Regional Growth Strategy.

One target is the City’s commitment to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. To meet that goal, the City will need to continue to explore efficiencies in transportation, buildings, and solid waste in its corporate operations as well as the community at large.

“We’ve been reducing our greenhouse gas emissions on a corporate level, such as by retrofitting our civic buildings with energy-efficient technology, but the biggest gains are made through community-wide planning,” noted Crawford.

“We’ve added climate change targets to our Official Community Plan, and are exploring ways to encourage increased housing density in our core areas. Creating compact, walkable communities makes it easier for people to leave their cars at home, and helps reduce the pressure on our road network.”

Crawford cautioned that these are long-term changes occurring over time.

The report shows that transportation accounts for the majority of Courtenay’s greenhouse gas emissions, with single-occupancy vehicle trips accounting for 74 per cent of all commutes to work. The City hopes to reduce that number to 55 per cent by 2020.

“We’re in the final stages of a Transportation Master Plan for the City, which will guide future decisions on transportations and utilities,” advised Crawford. “One of the main objectives is to ensure that neighbourhoods, schools, and businesses are well connected, not just for cars, but for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.”

To view the State of the Environment Report, go to www.courtenay.ca and click on the City of Courtenay Climate Action tab on the lower-left hand side. Printed copies are also available at City Hall.

— City of Courtenay

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