Improving transportation is one of the biggest moves people can make to cut emissions in their communities, such as using more electric vehicles, public transit and active transportation like biking or walking. Photo: Submitted

Improving transportation is one of the biggest moves people can make to cut emissions in their communities, such as using more electric vehicles, public transit and active transportation like biking or walking. Photo: Submitted

Renewable energy plan ready to go before West Kootenay councils

The plan by West Kootenay EcoSociety partners nine local governments

Submitted by West Kootenay EcoSociety

The West Kootenay is leading rural Canada on the path to renewable energy, and your local government can keep the momentum going.

For almost two years, nine local governments have been working on the West Kootenay 100 per cent Renewable Energy Plan. From Castlegar, Kaslo, Nelson, New Denver, Rossland, Silverton, Slocan, Warfield and the Regional District of Central Kootenay, staff and elected officials have been gathering expert advice and public input to establish each community’s priorities.

Now the plan is complete and these local governments can adopt and implement it. It’s the first of its kind in Canada, a renewable energy transition plan that includes a regional district and small towns, cities, villages and rural communities. The plan builds on the learnings of other local government 100 per cent renewable energy transition plans like Vancouver, Oxford County, Ont., and Victoria. Over the next couple of months, each of the nine local governments will have the renewable energy plan on their council meeting agendas for adoption.

“We’re really excited about the plan and grateful for the collaboration that made it possible. The engagement of our community has been strong, and we’re looking forward to taking actions that will make Rossland a more energy efficient and more vibrant place to live,” says Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore, one of the early communities to sign on.

The renewable energy plan focuses on transportation, heating and cooling buildings, electricity, and waste management, with a regional approach and specific actions for each of the nine participating local governments.

“People believe they can take action and that it will have an impact. That summarizes the feedback we’ve received and that is reflected in the final plan the working group is submitting to each local government,” says David Reid, renewable energy engagement director at West Kootenay EcoSociety.

West Kootenay EcoSociety helped develop the regional renewable energy plan. The community-driven clean and renewable energy transition is especially important to shape the direction we take as we recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over 10,000 people and 115 businesses from across the region have shown their support for the 100 per cent renewable energy transition in their community since we launched the 100 per cent Renewable Kootenays campaign four and half years ago,” says Montana Burgess, executive director at West Kootenay EcoSociety.

“This is a huge milestone for the region, and we’re looking forward to supporting the local governments to adopt the plan and get to work for healthier, safer and stronger communities.”

This project was made possible with the support of many donors with primary contributions from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Real Estate Foundation of BC.

For more information, visit the West Kootenay 100 per cent Renewable Energy Plan website.

West Kootenay EcoSociety is a non-profit community-driven organization that brings together local residents to protect the natural environment while building just, equitable, healthy, and livable communities in the West Kootenay region.