Lewis Park during a flood in 2014.

Fellowship calls for state of climate emergency

Noting a deepening summer drought and increasingly violent storms in the past five years, the Comox Valley Unitarian Fellowship is requesting local municipalities to declare a state of climate emergency.

In a Tuesday presentation to Courtenay council, May Partridge said “smoke-filled summers” required extra care for the elderly, the very young and those with asthma. The Valley also needs to deal with wind damage, power outages and flooding.

The fellowship is calling for three primary measures:

1. An initial approach to plan how communities can meet extreme climate events;

2. Establish a climate emergency committee composed of elected officials, municipal staff, emergency management personnel and citizens, including youth.

3. A commitment that staff will continually inform the community on its progress in meeting the climate emergency.

“There is much that can be done,” Partridge said. “We believe formal declaration will give movement on climate emergency the greater visibility and momentum it now requires.”

“From my perspective, it’s important to work as a region,” Coun. Doug Hillian said.

At the same meeting, council approved a resolution from Will Cole-Hamilton to have the City formally recognize the climate crisis, and to request senior governments to allocate resources to equip a local government response.

The resolution also calls for:

•City response to the crisis be considered as part of a strategic planning session in the fall;

•Identify tangible actions to address the crisis, in conjunction with other regional local governments;

•Climate change mitigation and adaptation be considered at all stages of development of a new Official Community Plan.

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