Singh says Kamloops can battle climate change and pandemic at same time

The City of Kamloops is collecting feedback on a number of proposed initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases and help achieve global emissions reductions targets in line with the Paris Agreement.

A Kamloops city councillor says the city can focus simultaneously on the pandemic and climate action goals.

The City of Kamloops is collecting feedback on a number of proposed initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases and help achieve global emissions reductions targets in line with the Paris Agreement.

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Coun. Arjun Singh said Canadian author Margaret Atwood spoke on the issue of simultaneously dealing with climate change and a pandemic at last week’s Union of BC Municipalities conference, which was held digitally amid the pandemic.

“She said, ‘You know, my stove has two front burners,’” Singh said. “I don’t know about you, right? We can do two things or more at once. It’s important for us not to shortchange work we’re doing on another crisis.”

Singh has been advocating for climate action at city hall, work that has not subsided amidst the pandemic. This week, the city is hosting three open houses at the Yacht Club on Lorne Street, seeking feedback on its community climate action plan. Singh said the city has already received some 300 pieces of correspondence through surveys and otherwise.

“Most of it’s supportive,” he said. “It is a very bold set of recommendations, I’d say.”

The Kamloops Voters Society weighed in on the issue, stressing the importance of a fully costed plan with sound tracking metrics. As it stands, the city’s community climate action plan does not come with price tags attached and some of the measures proposed could be costly.

The Kamloops Voters Society — composed of a group of residents that acts as a watchdog on city hall activity — argues the city could at least provide high-level costs and that the finance department should be involved early in the process.

Singh said the open houses are a chance for the community to provide feedback and to learn how they can do their part to lower emissions.

“If we’re not really kind of bold with these actions, we’re not going to do our part to meet global goals,” Singh said. “This is a really important way for folks to really get their head around how do I travel around the community and emit less greenhouse gases? What can I do to my home to emit less greenhouse gases?”

The third and final open house will be held on Thursday (Oct. 1) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pre-registration is not required, but capacity limits will be in place as part of COVID-19 safety protocols.

Big moves in plan

The city’s community climate action plan, upon which the city is currently seeking feedback, sets out a number of “big moves” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Those include emphasis on active transportation, electrification, low-carbon development, waste reduction, increasing the city’s urban forest canopy and more. Read more about the plan by clicking here.

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