New Denver is one of five communities that have pledged to use only renewable energy sources by the year 2050.                                 File photo

New Denver is one of five communities that have pledged to use only renewable energy sources by the year 2050. File photo

Castlegar council to be asked to join green drive for Kootenay energy

Petition now in circulation wants city to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050

A regional environmental group is hoping to convince Castlegar politicians to turn their city green.

The West Kootenay EcoSociety is gathering names on a petition calling on the city to transition to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.

They’re hoping to convince city council to join the bandwagon to a more sustainable future by presenting it with more than 1,000 names of locals who support the idea.

“We hope Castlegar will join us in becoming the largest geographical region in North America committed to 100 per cent renewable energy,” says Natasha Edmunds, the community organizer for the EcoSociety.

The environmental group will present the 1,000-name petition to Castlegar city council at its July 15 meeting.

“The petition is important because it shows that there is community support for this,” says Edmunds. “It’s important for us as an organization and a movement to know this is what the community wants, but it’s also important for when we go to city council to show them that ‘hey, there’s these thousand people in the community who want to see this happen.’ It’s very powerful.

“And it’s powerful for council to see they have backup in the community to move forward.”

The EcoSociety has been collecting names on the petition sporadically since last summer, but the name drive really took off this spring.

SEE: Rossland approves 2050 renewable energy plan

If they decide to adopt the policy, Castlegar would join Rossland, Slocan, Nelson, New Denver, and the Regional District of the Central Kootenay in the initiative.

“Castlegar is the next step. Our goal is to get the whole West Kootenay to sign on,” says Edmunds. “We hope Castlegar will be next, and we’re moving forward with other communities in the West Kootenay as well.”

“Fully renewable energy” means that by 2050 Castlegar will be carbon-neutral in heating and cooling, electricity, transportation, and waste management in civic operations.

“It’s all about moving forward for future generations, that we continue to maintain healthy, safe and fun communities and build a stronger economy for the long term,” says Edmunds.

“It’s an inclusive, a just and equitable transition, and we want to make sure the whole community feels involved and included in the process.”

More than 100 cities in the U.S. have committed to some form of 100 per cent renewable energy, along with over 150 others around the world.

Fifty per cent of Canada’s carbon pollution falls under the policy purview of municipalities, according to the EcoSociety.

You can sign the petition (and sign up to help the cause) by visiting the EcoSociety booth at Sunfest this weekend, or by visiting the group’s website, renewablekootenays.ca.

See: West Kootenay Eco Society