Tensions were high in an RDCK board meeting as 25 people gathered to express their concerns over a climate action strategy which some residents across the district are calling irresponsible.
The draft plan was released to residents across the district last month to gather public input around topics designed to outline a path to create a healthier, more resilient region while centering on the rural experience, integration of equity into climate action, and focus on building a culture which supports action.
Residents who attended Thursday’s meeting voiced their opinion that the plan is very vague and most of the population couldn’t understand the majority of the topics.
Area J resident Deb Randalls says the regional district did engage with the public but feels there is a lack of transparency and more input is needed.
“No one in the room could explain properly what is in the climate agenda,” Randalls says. “Further public consultations are going to be extremely valuable so the board can explain the concepts in the plan in detail.
“I think once this is done it will be really helpful to show the plan isn’t attainable in a rural area.”
Randalls says the plan’s outline with transit, housing and resources don’t align with a rural setting and won’t be sustainable for this region.
“So you have a huge urban plan being modified to fit a rural area,” she says. “If you look at the language there it doesn’t apply to a rural area. It just won’t work.
“These concepts, or policies, are not wanted or practical and that will be demonstrated during the public consultations.”
Aimee Andrews lives in Area E and says she is concerned the plan won’t address the real issues and in order to have a positive impact, problems plaguing the environment should be fixed now.
“The plan is going to take time to implement,” she says. “We should have started planning, and forecasting, years ago when we had the budget for it.. We knew it was going to happen, yet we did nothing.”
Andrews calls the plan backwards and a diversion from addressing the real issue at home.
“According to Stats Canada, Canadians only emit 670 million tonnes of carbon,” she says. “Since we have already hit our climate targets, why don’t we fix our basic needs first?”
The group says they are calling on the RDCK to continue with the public engagement sessions to bring awareness to the climate plan, and for people to do their diligence into the plan.
They are also asking residents to sign a petition to halt the approval of the RDCK climate plan.
The board listened to all the concerns brought forward, but took no action.