Group wants action on Sustainability Strategy

Transition Town next meets Feb. 26

  • Feb. 11, 2015 9:00 a.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record Staff

A citizens’ group is lauding the efforts of the public and politicians who created the Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy — a document intended to guide policies and plans concerning housing, transportation, parks and other areas of municipal and regional concern.

Transition Town would now like to see some of the goals of the CVSS turned into action on the five-year anniversary of the document.

“The recent record-breaking two-month boil water advisory, and another state of emergency caused by $130,000 of flood damage in Courtenay, makes a vivid case for how timely and important are our land use decisions,” community organizer Vanessa Scott said.

The Sustainability Strategy will focus on environmental principles and related actions such as local food production policies. The Regional Growth Strategy focuses more on land use. While the former was supported as a guideline, the regional district board adopted the latter as a bylaw. However, a number of CVSS policies and principles were carried forward into the RGS.

“There’s a lot of similarities in there,” said Michael Zbarsky, CVRD manager of transit and sustainability.

The CVSS was produced with $180,000 in federal funds. It has informed a few initiatives such as carpooling and urban forest management. The district has also installed solar panels, and given energy rebates for rural homeowners.

The CVRD has nearly completed a community climate action plan for the electoral areas, which it hopes to forward this spring with a second phase of action plan and funding.

“We’re doing the research now, and considering the next stage of implementation in the rural areas,” Zbarsky said.

The CVRD board has also adopted a corporate energy plan to address energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The district has been undertaking energy audits at facilities, and has retrofitted a variety of equipment to reduce energy use. Since 2012, the district has been carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets. It has also launched a ‘carbon marketplace’ in an effort to find local carbon offset projects.

Last year, the board adopted a transit future plan. A new express route has increased frequency on routes between Courtenay, Comox and North Island College.

To take the CVSS to its next level of adoption, Transition Town hopes to see follow-up with local governments and community groups that work on sustainability issues to determine the most urgent goals.

Transition Town next meets Feb. 26 from 7-9 p.m. at the House of Now, 536-A Fifth St. in Courtenay. The group hopes to attract those who already work or volunteer in fields of sustainability — such as conservation, water and food security, housing and transit solutions — to provide feedback on priority collaborative actions for 2015.

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