2040 Official Community Plan

Climate Resiliency

Share page with AddThis
Last Updated: 
January 10, 2022
2040 OCP - Chapter 12 - Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation chapter header, image of burnt trees following wildfire in Okanagan

2040 OCP Pillars - Climate Resiliency

The scientific community warns that global warming needs to be halted within the next few decades to reduce the risks of extreme and irreversible climate change. Overstepping this global threshold could locally translate to, among other impacts, hotter, drier summers that would increase the risk of forest fires, warmer winters that could result in the increase of pests or introduction of new pests, and increased frequency and intensity of precipitation events that could lead to increased flooding or damage from intense storms.

Local governments are uniquely positioned to influence the shift towards a low carbon lifestyle and to respond to the impacts of climate change. Our strategic direction for how our community will grow, commute, interact and protect natural assets, is intricately related to how we will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to anticipated climate changes and those changes we are already experiencing. As illustrated in Figure 12.1, the OCP’s pillars are key to building a community resilient to climate change, and consequently in addition to the policies provided below, climate considerations are woven throughout each chapter of the OCP.

2040 OCP - OCP Pillars contribute to a climate resilient community
Figure 12.1: OCP Pillars contributing to a climate resilient community. 

Mitigating climate impacts requires everyone working together to significantly reduce GHG emissions. Effective land use planning that minimizes or eliminates car-dependence, increasing the use of active transportation, and switching to alternative fuels (e.g., electric vehicles) will go a long way to reduce emissions from our largest source, transportation. Building and retrofitting energy efficient / low carbon buildings and prioritizing more efficient waste management systems will help our community do our part in fighting global climate change, while also reducing household energy costs, and creating a healthier, more livable city.

To support mitigation efforts, climate adaptation will be key to lessen the impacts of climate change and ensure our community continues to thrive. Incorporating green infrastructure, such as green roofs or rain gardens, helps reduce the vulnerabilities of natural and human systems to new climate realities and capitalize on new opportunities. In many cases, effective adaptation strategies can also have mitigation co-benefits, which reduces long term climate risk.

As not everyone will be affected by climate change in the same way or to the same degree, consideration must be given to those who are most vulnerable.  As we take action to become a more climate resilient community, it is crucial that equity is considered in all solutions.

Objective 12.1. Design the community to be more resilient to a changing climate.

Policy 12.1.1. GHG Emissions Reduction Targets.
In partnership with senior governments; local citizens and businesses; non-profits; external agencies; and utility providers; work towards reducing absolute community greenhouse gas emissions below 2007 levels by:

  • 4% by 2023;
  • 25% by 2033; and
  • 80% by 2050.

Policy 12.1.2. Climate Resilient Land Use Planning.
Build climate resiliency through land use design by:

  • Protecting natural areas and habitats;
  • Increasing park space and tree canopy coverage;
  • Focusing growth in connected, walkable, Urban Centres and Core Area;
  • Providing diverse transportation options to shift away from car-centric culture; and
  • Reducing energy consumption by constructing energy efficient buildings and neighbourhoods.

 Policy 12.1.3. Adapting Infrastructure.
Look at community utilities through a GHG lens:

  • Capture GHG generated through decomposition at the landfill;
  • Capture GHG produced from biosolids generated from our sanitary treatment process. This includes a new digestion process in line with the current composting practice; and 
  • Promote energy efficient pumping and operations within City utilities.
Objective 12.2. Prioritize climate resiliency in City operations.

Policy 12.2.1. Adaptive Management.
Use Adaptive Management strategies in City operations to cope with uncertain climate conditions.

Policy 12.2.2. Education and Training.
Increase internal Adaptive Capacity through training and education of City staff.

Policy 12.2.3. Climate Leadership.
Demonstrate climate change leadership in civic operations by piloting emerging ideas, to increase adaptability and resiliency.

Policy 12.2.4. GHG Emissions Reduction Criteria.
Incorporate greenhouse gas reduction criteria in infrastructure projects for evaluation/ modeling and procurement. 

Policy 12.2.5. Indigenous Knowledge.
Collaborate with syilx/Okanagan people to incorporate Indigenous knowledge in climate change action.

Objective 12.3. Encourage the community to take action to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Policy 12.3.1. Climate Projections.
Share climate change projections publicly to inform community climate action.

Policy 12.3.2. Climate Adaptation Techniques in City Operations.
Utilize opportunities to demonstrate effective adaptation techniques in City operations to encourage community led climate change action.

Policy 12.3.3. Climate Action Incentives.
Encourage and incentivize citizens and local businesses to adopt mitigation and adaptation strategies to make our local economy resilient to a changing climate.

Objective 12.4. Improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions of new buildings.

Policy 12.4.1. Energy Step Code.
Incrementally increase the energy efficiency of new construction (Part 9 and Part 3) by accelerating Energy Step Code performance requirements towards net-zero energy ready buildings before 2032.

Policy 12.4.2. Energy Efficient Design.
Encourage the use of passive design to reduce energy demand  as described in Chapter 18: Form and Character Development Permit Area.

Policy 12.4.3. Operational Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Explore tools to encourage new construction to achieve low or zero GHG emissions from operations.

Policy 12.4.4. Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Encourage new construction to reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from material extraction to demolition. 

Objective 12.5. Improve energy efficiency and reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions of existing buildings.

Policy 12.5.1. Energy Efficiency for Existing Buildings.
Support the accelerated local implementation of a provincial alterations code (expected in 2024) for existing buildings.

Policy 12.5.2. Home Energy Awareness.
Simplify the retrofit process by offering resources to homeowners that expand awareness of home energy performance and energy efficiency opportunities.

Policy 12.5.3. Energy Labelling.
Support provincial initiatives to require home energy labelling for all residential units at time of lease or sale to support increased disclosure and knowledge of home energy performance.

Policy 12.5.4. Resources to Address Energy Poverty.
Provide resources, such as incentives, capacity building and training, to assist households with a high home energy cost burden.

Policy 12.5.5. Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure.
Encourage and support industrial, commercial, institutional, and large multi-unit residential buildings to track and record energy performance so they can better identify retrofit opportunities.

Objective 12.6. Transition toward 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.

Policy 12.6.1. Making Renewable Energy Easier.
Develop strategies to address and remove barriers to participation in renewable energy programs (e.g. municipal codes, policies, and legislation).

Policy 12.6.2. Renewable Natural Gas.
Support the identification and development of regional renewable natural gas resources, such as anaerobic digestion of food scraps, waste decomposition, etc.

Policy 12.6.3. District Energy.
Encourage the development and expansion of low-carbon district heating and cooling systems.

Policy 12.6.4. Microgeneration.
Reduce reliance upon fossil fuels by encouraging small-scale and decentralized generation of renewable energy, such as solar photovoltaics, wind, and geothermal.

Policy 12.6.5. Combined Heat and Power.
Where opportunities exist to promote the inclusion of waste-heat generation or recovery, the City will consider the offer of necessary utility rights-of-way.

Objective 12.7. Support the transition to emerging low and zero-emission transportation technologies.

Policy 12.7.1. Low Carbon Fuels. 
Support the expansion and use of low carbon fuels (e.g. electricity, hydrogen, etc.) as one way of reducing GHG emissions from the transportation sector.

Policy 12.7.2. Electric Mobility.
Provide infrastructure to support and expand electric vehicle (EV) and e-bike ownership through the following initiatives:

  • Residential charging infrastructure: Ensure access to appropriate EV and e-bike charging infrastructure (such as Level 2 conduits for EVs), in new construction;
  • Commercial charging infrastructure: Require a percentage of parking spaces in commercial developments to have energized outlets for Level 2 EV charging and facilitate installing more charging stations in the future;
  • Public charging infrastructure: Strategically expand the availability of public EV charging infrastructure, prioritizing high-density neighbourhoods and high-traffic public areas; and
  • Education and awareness: Expand knowledge of EVs and their benefits through education and outreach initiatives.

Policy 12.7.3. Promote Shared Mobility.
Continue to support pilots and partnerships to improve access to on-demand shared mobility options (e.g. car sharing, bike/e-bike share, e-scooter share) that reduce GHG emissions and promote sustainable transportation options.

Policy 12.7.4. Autonomous Vehicle Technology.
Work with other levels of government and industry to leverage the potential of new self-driving transportation technologies as one way to reduce congestion and GHG emissions and promote more shared trips.

Objective 12.8. Invest in ecosystem services and green infrastructure to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate.

Policy 12.8.1. Urban Forest Canopy.
Expand the urban forest canopy as identified in the Urban Forest Strategy.

Policy 12.8.2. Green Infrastructure Investment.
Focus green infrastructure investment in Urban Centres and Core Area to reduce the amount of impermeable surfaces and help mitigate the urban heat island effect.

Policy 12.8.3. Green Infrastructure in Development.
Encourage the inclusion of green infrastructure in new developments.

Policy 12.8.4. Ecosystem Connectivity.
Where feasible, accommodate ecosystem connectivity in green infrastructure design.

Policy 12.8.5. Multi-Purpose Design.
Design green infrastructure to serve multiple purposes, where feasible (for example stormwater management, urban heat island reduction, and providing shaded, walkable corridors).

Objective 12.9. Support the community to prepare for and become resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Policy 12.9.1. Centralized Warning System.
Create a centralized warning system and resource hub for all potential emergencies and extreme weather events.

Policy 12.9.2. Community Organizations.
Support community organizations in emergency planning and preparedness.

Policy 12.9.3. Social Vulnerabilities and Inequities.
Identify and develop solutions with multiple co-benefits for socially vulnerable populations that may have disproportionate climate risks by:

  • Reviewing quantitative and qualitative language, income, age, and health data; and 
  • Incorporating equity mapping into climate change preparedness and climate adaptation.

Policy 12.9.4. Emergencies and Disasters.
Increase the capacity for the community to respond and recover from an emergency or disaster by:

  • Preparing the community to be self-reliant for up to 72 hours after an incident; and 
  • Creating strong neighbourhoods so that residents can support themselves and their neighbors in difficult times.
Objective 12.10. Adapt to a changing water supply.

Policy 12.10.1. Civic Water Consumption.
Implement strategies to reduce civic water consumption by:

  • Designing for water conservation;
  • Redesigning park and civic landscaping to reduce the amount of irrigated turf where appropriate; and
  • Using adequate levels of topsoil to reduce the need for water while ensuring health of vegetation.

Policy 12.10.2. Water Conservation Tools.
Minimize water consumption and increase resilience to drought by following best practices for water conservation including:

  • Water metering;
  • Equitable rate structure;
  • Implement strategies to optimize and improve irrigation practices; and
  • Public education to encourage adoption of water saving techniques.

Policy 12.10.3. Landscape Design.
Encourage all new developments to design landscaping to reduce outdoor residential water consumption.

Objective 12.11. Increase resilience to extreme weather events.

Policy 12.11.1. Reduce Vulnerability. 
Determine the climate change vulnerability of existing natural and engineered assets so resiliency efforts can be prioritized.

Policy 12.11.2. Build Back Better. 
Use recovery from disaster events as an opportunity to ‘build back better’ and upgrade vulnerable infrastructure.

Objective 12.12. Reduce risk to public health, the local economy and the environment related to invasive species.

Policy 12.12.1. Invasive Species and Disease Impact Assessments.
Conduct invasive species and disease impact assessments to understand the risk to public health, the local economy and the environment.

Policy 12.12.2. Invasive Species and Sensitive Ecosystems. 
Prioritize invasive species intervention efforts in sensitive ecosystems, riparian areas and wetlands that are connected to larger systems.