Setting greenhouse targets a priority for new council in Smithers

The Town of Smithers has released their Climate Action Revenue Incentive public report.

  • Jan. 8, 2012 12:00 p.m.

The Town of Smithers has released their Climate Action Revenue Incentive public report which outlines some of the ways the town has been reducing their carbon footprint over 2011.

The report is a requirement of the Town as signatory to the province’s Climate Action Charter. The completion of these reports are required for the Town to get back the money it has paid over the year in carbon tax.

Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach said that while the town hasn’t gone the distance in reducing emissions so far, it will remain a priority for the council.

“There hasn’t been a lot of progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Smithers but it is something we’re working on and something I hope that we make some serious progress on in 2012,” he said.

The report is broken down into two main sections: a community wide plan, and a corporate plan.

The corporate plan is what the Town will do with its own operations to reduce emissions.

“On the positive side, our Official Community Plan (OCP) does provide a really strong direction in terms of tackling our greenhouse gas emissions and I think creating these two plans, a corporate plan and community plan, are going to put us in good shape to make some real progress,” said Bachrach.

Among some highlights of the corporate plan, Smithers’ Development Services Department is said to be set to pilot a new program in 2012 which will have workers using bicycles on short trips around town, instead of vehicles. Vehicles themselves will continue to be replaced over time with more efficient vehicles as well.

“That’s something that came from staff,” said Bachrach about the cycling option. “For short trips around town that’s a fantastic transportation option.”

Much of the rest corporate section of the report mentions how the town is continuing with existing programs. Under building and lighting, the report highlights the replacement of the boiler and a hot water heater at the arena with higher efficiency models, and other upgrades of that nature throughout the Town organization.

Community density was addressed in 2011, which is marked in the climate report under the community section. The Town, it’s noted, amended a bylaw which allowed secondary suites within single family homes. Increasing density, said Bachrach, makes a more walkable community.

Bachrach points out that this report is a snapshot of 2011 and so doesn’t include everything the town has done over the past few years.

One step the council will have to take in the coming months, he said, is to establish a specific target for greenhouse gas emissions, something that is stipulated in the OCP.

According to the report the Town is in the process of setting a reduction target.