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New West gets the gold for Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action

Council acknowledges efforts of Babies for Climate Action and Walkers Caucus in urging city to take action to address climate crisis
Bold Steps
The City of New Westminster acknowledged the role that the Walkers Caucus and Babies for Climate Action have had in supporting the city's efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

The City of New Westminster recently received an award for its Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action but it wanted to pass along some of the accolades to local grassroots groups.

At a planning conference in Whistler in July, the Planning Institute of B.C. presented the city with the gold award in Excellence in Policy Planning – City and Urban Areas.

In November 2019, council endorsed the "seven bold steps” to be taken by the city in response to the climate emergency. These initiatives are intended to move city toward meeting the greenhouse gas targets set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“We are incredibly proud to be able to receive that for our work on the Seven Bold Steps, which is really in the framework and document to really help shape our climate policy and what we can do locally to address climate change,” Mayor Jonathan Cote said at Monday’s council meeting.

While council is incredibly proud of the staff team that’s contributed to creating a climate vision for the work to be done by the city, Cote said the city also wanted to acknowledge some of the community members that have played an important role in championing the Seven Bold Steps and pushing the City of New Westminster to take action on climate action.

At Monday’s meeting, council presented plaques to representatives from Babies for Climate Action and the Walkers Caucus.

Cote said the groups have helped push the climate work being undertaken by the city.

“We're incredibly proud of this honour that we've received for the gold award ... but it was really important for us that we acknowledge and actually share your success with the community,” he said.

The Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action outlines the seven areas the city plans to tackle to address the climate emergency:

* Carbon-free corporation – the city will reduce its overall carbon footprint and will strive to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

* Car-light community – the city will accelerate the targets in the master transportation plan for mode split, with the goal of making 60 per cent of all trips within the city to be made by sustainable modes of transportation (walk, transit, bike, multi-occupant shared) by 2030. (Currently, 40 per cent of trips are by sustainable modes.)

* Carbon-free homes and buildings – by 2030, the city wants all new and replacement heating and hot water systems to be zero emissions.

* Pollution-free vehicles – by 2030, the city aims to have 50 per cent of kilometres driven by New Westminster registered vehicle owners to be in zero emission vehicles.

* Carbon-free energy – the city will invest in a smart electrical grid and accommodate the required rapid conversion to building and vehicle electrification.

* Robust urban forest – the city will increase its urban forest canopy to 27 per cent by 2030 to support the removal of 4,050 tonnes of carbon pollution annually and increase its forest’s carbon storage capacity by 50 per cent. (The city’s previous target was 27 per cent by 2035.)

* Quality people-centred public realm – a minimum of 10 per cent of today’s street space that currently only serves motor vehicles, excluding transit, will be reallocated for sustainable transportation or public gathering by 2030. The natural environment will be integrated with the public realm.

In 2021, the city’s Seven Bold Steps picked up at honourable mention in the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ Community Excellence Awards.

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus
Email [email protected]