Kelowna has experienced first-hand, the havoc that climate change can cause to a community. In 2017, Kelowna experienced one of its most extreme weather years with record levels of spring precipitation causing historic flooding followed by hot, dry summer that contributed to a devastating wildfire season as summarized in the 2017 Community Trends Report: A Changing Climate. 2018 also started with extremes, with snow pack levels across the Okanagan well above normal causing the Emergency Operations Center to be activated for multiple weeks to address localized flooding and prepare for possible larger impacts. These types of extreme weather events are expected to occur more regularly as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to grow.
Reducing GHG Emissions
Climate change affects everyone, and everyone must do their part to mitigate GHG emissions to limit the extent and impacts of climate change. Kelowna is leading the change by example, demonstrating our commitment to reduce corporate GHG emissions and create efficient compact communities. Council recently endorsed an updated Community Climate Action Plan and a Corporate Energy and GHG Emissions Plan, identifying new opportunities for both the community and corporation to reduce emissions. Just a few examples of the exciting things we are working that influence and lead energy and emission reductions in our community include:
- Energy Step Code requirements
- Official Community Plan update
- Transportation Master Plan
- LED Street Light Coversion
Finally, we report to the Province each year on the numerous initiatives we are doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a corporation (e.g. energy efficient upgrades and changes to fleet) as well as what we are doing to help reduce community GHG emissions (e.g. expansion of sidewalks and bikelanes, planting trees and waste reduction programs).