The City of Powell River is being recognized for its eco-friendliness.

It’s been nominated for a 2020 Climate and Energy Action Award for Climate Action in a Small Coastal Town.

Councillor CaroleAnn Leishman says it’s a “real honour to have our community nominated for an award like this out of the entire province.”

“It shows that local action on reducing carbon emissions and working towards making our community more resilient and less reliant on fossil fuels does not go unnoticed and puts us on the map as a forward-thinking community.”

Leishman credited the work of sustainability planner Ana Lukyanova for moving the city forward on sustainability measures and being instrumental in achieving the recognition.

“Her role has not only reduced the city’s carbon footprint in response to the climate emergency and helped us become carbon neutral in corporate operations since 2018, but has saved the City taxpayers thousands of dollars on reduced utility costs by becoming more energy efficient in city operations,” Leishman said.

“That is not something anyone should take lightly.” 

In 2019, implemented the following actions that reduce its greenhouse gas footprint:

  • adopting Green Vehicle and Green Buildings policies for corporate operations;
  • retrofitting municipal buildings with LED lighting, creating a better visual environment;
  • purchasing self-watering planters for the Marine Avenue, the city’s main thoroughfare, to reduce watering truck idle time and emissions;
  • adding a low-emissivity ceiling to ice rinks at the Powell River Recreation Complex;
  • installing a REALice system for icemaking to reduce natural gas use
  • passing a bylaw that permits the operation of low-speed electric vehicles within city limits;
  • working with BC Hydro to install the region’s first fast electric vehicle charging station; and
  • partnering with CleanBC Better Homes to offer rebates to homeowners who switch from fossil fuel to clean electric heat pumps and cutting annual greenhouse gas emissions of more than 57 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, delivering cost savings to homeowners,

“These actions not only reduced our emissions but also substantially cut our operating costs with a very attractive return on investment. The work we did in 2019 alone is saving over $40,000 annually in utility costs with a 10 per cent rate of return,” Lukyanova said.

The awards are administered by the Community Energy Association, a charitable non-profit society that collaborates with local governments to build capacity and accelerate action on climate and energy. 

Due to COVID-19, the awards presentation will be virtual and will take place during the Union of BC Municipalities Convention, Sept. 22–24.

Powell River was one of eight BC communities nominated, the others being, 

  • the City of Abbotsford for its Green Fleet Strategy; 
  • the Village of Kaslo for a Streetlight Retrofit; 
  • the City of North Vancouver for Accelerating the Transition to Zero Emission Vehicles and an Electric Vehicle Strategy Implementation; – the District of Saanich for its 2020 Climate Plan; 
  • The City of Nanaimo for their Climate Change Resilience Strategy; the Cowichan Valley Regional District for their Climate Risk Assessment Framework for Infrastructure, 
  • and the District of North Vancouver for their 2020 Community Energy and Emissions Plan.