COUNCIL COMMITS TO 85% GHG REDUCTIONS BY 2050.

DAWSON CREEK- ? At Tuesday?s meeting, Dawson Creek City Council committed to reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions to 85 percent below 2006 levels by the year 2050. The reductions will apply to corporate and community emissions and are aligned with Provincial targets announced in February of 2007.

?Setting targets will allow the City to fully implement and assess the Community Energy Plan (CEP),? says Mayor Calvin Kruk. ?We have received national and provincial recognition for our efforts to date, but we need to build on our momentum and involve the entire community.?

?We need to promote the opportunities that change creates and get people actively involved in making sustainable choices,? says Kruk. ?Initiatives like Peace Energy Cooperative, the Energy House at Northern Lights College and Green Smart Homes are great examples of what the private and public sectors can accomplish.?

Recently the City applied for and received $416,660 in combined federal and provincial funding to improve energy efficiency at City Hall. The upgrades will save almost $8,000 in yearly energy expenditures while reducing GHG emissions by 43 tonnes per year.

City council has implemented an anti-idling policy that will result in annual savings of up to 20 percent on fuel cost and help reduce GHG emissions for the municipal vehicle fleet.

Also, pedestrian warning-light systems have been installed that use off-grid energy to reduce electrical costs and are GHG emission free. Later this year, the City plans to install solar powered lighting near bridges on the Dawson walking trail and on the public transit bus-stop shelters in the City.

Mid-term targets include reducing emissions 14 percent below 2006 levels by 2012 and 33 percent below 2006 levels by 2020.

BACKGROUNDER

Project summary: In January 2005, the City of Dawson Creek embarked on a journey towards becoming a Sustainable Community. Using the Natural Step Framework, and with the help of the Pembina Institute, the municipality is incorporating sustainability into its operations and policies and initiating measures to encourage citizens and businesses to do the same.

The Community Energy Plan looked at how the city?s operations used energy and identified the type of energy consumed, the costs involved and the environmental implications (green house gas emissions). The plan also recommended ways to reduce the cost, the security and the impact of consuming about $1,000,000 (one million dollars) of energy, per year. Specific initiatives that came out of the study and plan include:

* Fuel costs: The city has implemented a green vehicle purchasing policy that requires the purchase of low emission vehicles. Ultimately, the fleet will be ?right sized? to the most common use of each unit, with an anti idling policy and a high maintenance standards policy. Dawson Creek bought its first hybrid in June of this year and has ordered 4 compact SUV?s to be used by department supervisors. Previously, in the absence of a vehicle purchasing policy, these positions were outfitted with half ton, V8 pickups.

* Electrical costs: A series of building retrofits will ensure existing structures use as little energy as possible. The City?s 6 largest structures were studied in 2006.

* A street light retrofit has been completed. All City owned street lights are now fitted with ?dark sky friendly?, low voltage, high-pressure sodium lights that reduce electrical consumption by about 100,000 KW/h per year, a savings of about $1,200 per month. LED traffic lights have also been installed throughout the city and that has translated into substantial savings as well.

* Dawson Creek is pursuing on-site renewable energy generation by investigating the use of wind turbines for the water and sewer operations, as the department is heavily dependent on electricity. Wind data is currently being collected and a cost/benefit analysis is expected by the end of 2007.

* City Hall and the Fire Hall are equipped with Solar Hot Water Systems, which provide hot water for the building?s needs and serve as demonstration and test sites for the use of these systems in a northern environment.

* By partnering with the Solar Society of Canada, the City helped Northern Lights College become the first College in Canada to offer a solar curriculum. As of fall semester 2006, NLC plumbing students will be able to certify in Solar Hot Water Systems installations.

* The city has signed up for new provincial Water Conservation and Plumbing Regulations requiring low flush fixtures for all new construction.

* Further to these initiatives, the city is considering an energy efficiency bylaw, to require energy efficiency standards for all new construction. The new bylaw will require all new single family dwellings to be ?solar ready?, have energy star windows and doors, have increased insulation in walls and roof and be equipped with a Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) system. The focus of the new bylaw will be on providing affordable living and not just affordable building.

In 2006, representatives from the Natural Step Canada and the Pembina Institute held a series of workshops in Dawson Creek to provide training for Council, staff and members of partnering organizations on the Natural Step principles of Sustainability. Council voted unanimously to incorporate the principles into the City?s vision.

A motion to develop a Community Sustainability Plan was approved by Council early in 2006 and it is expected it will be completed by 2008, just as Dawson Creek celebrates 50 years of incorporation. The plan is intended to provide a vision for the community?s next half century.