Wildsight asked the local candidates: What is the biggest environmental issue facing our community and what can the City of Kimberley do about it? All of the candidates responses are below.
Candidates for Mayor
Hands down – it’s education!!! And I for one am delighted to see green houses in the school yards of every elementary school in Kimberley. And, a regular curriculum that constantly presents environmental studies and presentations by Wildsight resource people. Education is the biggest issue and it is now being addressed in the right fashion to the right age groups. Don’t be wasting money or time on an archaic people like me – trying to get us to change our ways or accept responsibility for our past stupidity. This planet is dying and our only hope or salvation is the children.
I think we need to do more to reduce our carbon footprint. Council has already established a reserve fund for local carbon reduction initiatives, and now with about $90,000 in that fund we can begin to request proposals from interested community groups that will lead to community-wide carbon reduction programs. We also need to continue the city’s existing environment initiatives – controlling noxious weeds, cleaning up ground fuels, and remediating polluted lands (brownfield sites). In the future, we will need to manage the environmental aspects of growth. For example, one of my key economic development strategies is attracting more remote workers. This will put additional pressure on our carbon footprint, the most obvious example being an anticipated increase in traffic between Cranbrook and Kimberley. As mayor, I will ensure that we review our public transportation service and put in place strategies to address any environmental issues.
Climate change is the biggest environmental issue facing Kimberley. A number of years ago an extensive report was done “Adapting to Climate Change in Kimberley”. It identified three priority climate change impact issue areas and the vulnerabilities associated with each issue. The three areas are: the Natural Environment (Water and Forests), the Built Environment (Municipal Infrastructure) and the Socio-Economic Environment (Tourism). Examples of vulnerabilities associated with each impact area include municipal water supply, flooding, wildfire risk under the Natural Environment; risk of slope failure, flooding associated with storm water system, drinking water system under the Built Environment; and ski tourism, golf tourism, festival and events tourism under the Socio-Economic Environment.
Candidates for Council
The biggest environmental issue facing Kimberley continues to be the preservation of Kimberley’s watershed. The City relies upon both Mark and Matthew creeks for our drinking water. We need to continue being vigilant regarding the ecology of the watershed by protecting it from human disturbance such as motorized vehicle traffic (ATV’s). Regardless of how pressing the City’s finances may be,
I’m opposed to any run of the river project on either Mark or Matthew Creeks which might be proposed. The City is doing a great job in preserving the integrity of our watershed. If elected to Council I will ensure it remains that way.
Personally I don’t see value in putting anyone environmental issue over another. Each one is significant unto itself and when it come to the environment every detrimental impact should be treated equally. Truly one of the greatest assets we have here in the region is the natural environment and the resources it provides. Water, essentially the key to everything for us is something I’ve always been mindful of. Natural boundaries should always been protected, and if necessary maintained. Consumption, in addition to mindfulness initiatives should be a priority. Programs to target every generation are a fantastic endeavor and gearing them to a specific age/generation can increase the impact. I love hearing the education my kids receive in school and bring home about environmental stewardship. Promote awareness, monitor/meter consumption and ensure vital resources are secure.
Climate change is the biggest environmental threat facing our community with a range of impacts that include: increased forest fire threat, reduced water supplies, more frequent landslides, intense storms and an unreliable snowpack for skiing. While the primary responsibility for action lies with the Federal government (the Harper Conservatives are doing an abysmal job) Kimberley has incorporated a number of climate change mitigation goals in its Integrated Community Sustainability Plan that work to reduce our energy use and conserve water and resources. We have worked with Cranbrook to explore the potential for regional biomass energy and are constructing the largest solar farm in western Canada. We have opted to start a carbon offset fund with the money that the Province requires us to set aside under the Climate Action Charter and will soon be developing plans to use that money to stimulate investment in carbon reduction in the community.
Water Usage. The city is working with Columbia Basin Trust in regards to water conservation.The city sends managers,supervisors and workers to workshops to learn all they can about water conservation.The city receives a grant from CBT to hire a summer student to help educate the residents about water conservation,there is also information at city hall and on their web site.The city has in place a by-law stating all new construction must have low flow fixtures installed and also encourage them to be installed when doing renovations using the rebate program that is in place.Each year the city does water line replacement with the worst lines being replaced.
A sustainable water supply I believe is the most serious environmental issue we face. We shouldn’t take it for granted, the recent engineering report commissioned by the City of Kimberley reveals much higher than average main breaks, and a generally very ’porous’ system. The report estimated that 15% of the volume treated at the sewage plant comes straight from mains supply without even reaching residents. The report also states that during drought years, ecological flows in Mark Creek may not be able to be maintained, threatening fish and other aquatic life that has painstakingly been re-established post our mining days. Water efficiency must improve as not to threaten the ecology of our natural environment that we so take for granted. Our city needs to prioritize upgrading the infrastructure whilst continuing to promote other water conservation measures.
The biggest environmental issue facing our community would be the changing climate. In the 35 years I have lived in Kimberley, I have seen the weather change significantly, from plenty of spring skiing days, to warm rainy Novembers. This climate change triggers other changes; the pine beetle which is killing our beautiful trees, the abundance of other beetles unbalancing our eco system, high water/ flooding. The City of Kimberley can make it a priority, and we can converse with our community experts while researching for more solutions. We can continue energy efficient programs for wood burning stoves; continue the cutting of pine beetle damaged trees, sparing the healthy trees. Take and use only what we truly need; recycle, reuse, and reduce. Support energy efficient companies first. Continue informing and educating our community. Make the message a priority; a healthy environment is what makes & keeps this area so special.
The biggest issue facing our community is the need to renew our aging infrastructure. Recently City council received a report on our water distribution system. Here is one example: the picture that was painted by the report is that our water distribution system in Lois Creek and in Blarchmont is in very bad shape is leaking and breaking at a very high rate…much higher than the national and international rate. The end result of not keeping up with our infrastructure renewal (as in this example) is that winter drawdown of Mark Creek is above the recommended drawdown of no more than 25%. All of this is not good news for the Mark Creek ecosystem, and raises questions about what the impact will be further downstream.
I am currently unaware of the position that the City of Kimberley holds in a myriad of environmental issues. That said, I am not in any position at this time to comment on an action that I might take if selected for Council. If chosen, I will enter a steep learning curve to get up to speed and will be better prepared for this discussion at a later date.