Climate strike took place Friday, in Maple Ridge. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge council takes aim at new GHG targets

Climate Hub ‘delighted’ with city hall’s initiative

Maple Ridge Council will once again take aim at its targets for greenhouse gas reduction, and at least one councillor credits a citizen initiative.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, councillors charged staff with bringing them recommendations for climate change mitigation, with actions the city can implement. The report will be written by senior policy and sustainability analyst Laura Benson for a September council meeting.

“At present, Maple Ridge is one of the most populous communities without a climate action or energy and emissions plan,” noted the background report the city reviewed Tuesday.

Coun. Kiersten Duncan gave credit for council’s renewed interest in the issue to members of the community who prodded politicians.

“It’s because of their advocacy that we’re here today,” she said

One of those advocates was Kirk Grayson of the Maple Ridge Climate Hub, who lobbied council in May. They asked the city to update their targets for GHG reductions, direct staff to draft an action plan, and create a plan to measure and report on progress.

“I’m delighted. I’m thrilled,” said Grayson of council’s decision.

She cited recent projections about average temperatures rising around the globe to what has been predicted as disastrous levels, and said “we do not have any time to waste.”

“But you still have to do that strategic thinking and planning.”

The staff report presented Tuesday’s said this is a timely initiative, because pandemic recovery economic stimulus funding from senior government could be directed toward climate action.

“These funds tend to dry up for communities following rather than leading the pack,” said the report.

In 2010, the city adopted a provincial target of a 33 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2020, based on 2007 levels, and 80 per cent by 2050.

The report said the city, as an organization, met the first goal, outdoing the target by 43 tonnes of carbon.

Although cars and trucks produce 31 per cent of GHGs, there is little reliable data to gauge the emissions from vehicles across the community. Commercial and residential buildings contributed 148,000 tonnes of carbon in 2017, which was a one per cent increase from 2007. Buildings produce 26 per cent of all GHGs in the city.

The report noted several milestones, such as the 2010 Energy and Climate Action Award for two projects – an energy retrofit including solar heating technology at the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, and innovation by the city IT staff.

Also, the city has endorsed Metro Vancouver’s strategy calling for greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets of 45 per cent reduction from 2010 levels by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2050.

The city has $440,000 in a reserve to fund projects to reduce GHGs, and may leveraging these funds to attract senior government grants.

READ ALSO: Going Green: The great transformation

Coun. Gordy Robson said the council motion commits city hall to action.

“I love the fact it says we’re going to do something, rather than that we’re going to form a committee,” he said.

“I look forward to hearing back in September the things we can actually do, that’s going to make a difference.”

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