Results of a survey on climate change was presented to council. (Climate Hub/Special to The News)

Results of a survey on climate change was presented to council. (Climate Hub/Special to The News)

Maple Ridge Climate Hub asks city council for climate action plan

Grayson presents new council with results of a local survey about climate change

A Maple Ridge group dedicated to fighting climate change wants city council to develop a climate action plan, and strike a new climate action advisory committee.

Kirk Grayson of the Maple Ridge Climate Hub appeared before city council on Tuesday, Dec. 6, to present the results of a survey about residents’ priorities for climate action change.

She set the tone with a quote from UN secretary General Antonio Guterres: “We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing. Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.”

READ ALSO: Nature ‘under attack’ says Trudeau as UN biodiversity conference opens

“But today I want to share some good news with you about the appetite residents of Maple Ridge have for making the changes we know are urgently needed,” said Grayson.

She said the Climate Hub appeared before council in 2020, asking that the city set targets for reducing GHG to align with an intergovernmental panel on climate change.

Since that time, B.C. has seen the effects of climate change in a heat dome event that was blamed for the deaths of 595 people in B.C. in the summer of 2021, increased forest fires and the burning of the town of Lytton, an atmospheric river that flooded farmland in Abbotsford in November 2021, and this past fall a drought that saw the Sunshine Coast left with a small supply of drinking water.

READ ALSO: Coroner finds 10 Maple Ridge people died during heat dome

She noted other cities in B.C. have created climate action strategies, including Vancouver, Saanich and Langley Township.

The Climate Hub’s survey had 76 respondents, who want to see the city’s climate action plan include:

• Protecting and managing natural assets – 82 per cent

• Making climate impacts part of ally city processes and decisions – 79 per cent.

• Energy retrofits in buildings – 61 per cent

• Accelerating the switch to sustainable transportation – 49 per cent.

• Net Zero construction in new buildings – 58 per cent

Coun. Sunny Schiller asked Grayson what the top priorities should be.

“Creating that action plan is sort of paramount. So a lot of communities have done that,” said Grayson, noting there is funding available from senior government for planning.

She said an advisory committee, with expertise from the community, is another priority.

Mayor Dan Ruimy said her group had asked the city to declare a climate emergency, and asked “What would you hope to gain out of that?”

Grayson responded that most communities that are taking action have made that as a first step, prior to creating their plans.

“In my view declaring an emergency is a signal, and it’s a good one, but what we heard in the survey is that’s not the most important thing that people are looking for,” she said. “What’s really important is the planning and the actions.”

City staff said the Climate Hub’s proposals will be considered as part of council’s strategic planning, and brought back before councillors in the new year.

READ ALSO: Environmental alliance takes to B.C. legislature to call for end to fracking

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