The Suncor oil sands facility seen from a helicopter near Fort McMurray, Alta. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

Penticton plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions following 22% increase since 2011

Motor vehicles accounted for up to 55 per cent of emissions in Penticton

On the eve of a planned climate change protest in Penticton, the city announced that greenhouse gas emissions have increased up to 22 per cent since 2011 locally.

Mayor John Vassilaki said the increase in emission levels, which has been seen over a period of 10 years since the city introduced its first Community Climate Action Plan, is disappointing but not surprising.

“If we want to protect our beautiful blue skies, we need to take the climate emergency seriously and the new Community Climate Action Plan will give us the guidance we need to do our part to reduce emissions,” Vassilaki said.

The new plan Vassilaki is referencing was reviewed during Tuesday’s (Sept. 7) city council meeting, where the stats for emissions were released.

The plan was made a priority for this term by council which will set targets and recommend ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Penticton with a city-specific approach.

Among three focus areas in the new plan are transportation, buildings and waste. Transportation made up 55 per cent of total emissions in Penticton, while buildings created 31 per cent and waste 14 per cent.

Work on the new plan began last October and involved the city’s Community Sustainability Advisory Committee, First Things First Okanagan among other key stakeholder groups.

A draft based on the involvement of the aforementioned groups has been prepared and is ready for community review.

Starting Sept. 8 the community are invited to access activities and resources to learn more about the new plan. These include reading background materials, infographics and a video presentation, the ability to review and comment on the drafted plan, complete a survey to share your views and drop by a series of pop-up events to discuss the direction of the plan.

“After the wildfire threat and smoky skies we endured this summer, I hope that everyone will get involved and consider what we can each do to reduce our contribution to climate change,” Vassilaki said.

The public is invited to view the materials on or pick up paper copies at City Hall or Penticton Library.

Staff for First Things First Okanagan are will also have a booth at Gyro park today (Wednesday) between 11 a.m and 2 p.m. – coinciding with the protest – for the public to read and discuss the draft.

The City says they will use all the feedback to confirm the direction of the plan, with a final version expected to be ready in November.

The climate rally starting at 11:30 a.m. at Penticton Library to Gyro Park.

READ MORE: Climate rally today from library to Gyro Park

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