Downtown Smithers. (File photo)

‘It’s a very ambitious goal’: retrofits, EV infrastructure at heart of community emissions plan

The Town will be holding an open house in early March to hear from the public

At their Feb. 11 meeting the Town heard how energy retrofits and a shift towards more active forms of transportation are just two actions within a larger move towards reducing community greenhouse gas emissions.

The Community Energy Association’s (CEA) chief technical officer Peter Robinson said the group requested to be at the meeting as a result of the Town’s declaration of a climate emergency at their Nov. 26 meeting.

“It’s a very ambitious goal,” he said, adding the non-profit spent most of Feb. 11 and was slated to spend much of Feb. 12 discussing the minutiae with staff.

CEA’s community energy manager Maya Chorobik said the plan separates initiatives into a variety of categories, including transportation, buildings and waste.

“Some of the actions the Town is considering for the plan revolve around enhancing the ability for EVs to be a more viable opportunity for residents of the Town of Smithers as well as looking at opportunities to shift transportation out of the single passenger vehicle and into modes like walking, cycling and taking transit,” she said, adding that there are a number of geographic-specific variables to the equation.

“We’re looking at what does a Smithers-specific context look like for those kinds of actions around lowering transportations emissions.”

READ MORE: Town rolls out active transportation plan draft

In terms of initiatives related to buildings the Town will be looking at the potential for deep energy retrofits in existing building stock, as well as low carbon opportunities for new buildings being built.

The Town and CEA are also looking at organic waste diversion initiatives to help try and stop as much waste as possible from ending up in landfills.

“We had a very productive workshop today with members of council and community stakeholders and we’re going to be continuing looking at some of that action planning with staff,” said Chorobik.

The CEA will be holding an open house to hear from the public on the matter in early March. An exact date was not given at the meeting for when this would be taking place.

Robinson said the organization has helped create some 70 community energy emissions over the last 10 years, as well as around 30 corporate mutual actions plans.

“The Town of Smithers is at the forefront of climate action, it’s an exciting time.”

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