Small City wins big hardware

DAWSON CREEK, BC – A small town in the heart of British Columbia?s oil and gas country is leading the way for other communities, big and small, toward energy sustainability.

Until recently the big news was the oil and gas development making its way into the area. That is until the recent UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) Conference at which the City of Dawson Creek received the 2006 Community Excellence Award for Leadership and Innovation, and the 2006 Energy Aware Award.

?We have a very forward thinking administration and council at the city and this is a great confirmation, the recognition of our peers,? said Mayor Calvin Kruk. With these awards, Dawson Creek, a town of about 12,000 situated in the South Peace region of northeastern BC is acknowledged as a provincial energy conservation leader and an innovator of policies that will aggressively take the city toward sustainability. ?We will celebrate out 50th anniversary of incorporation in 2008. Our Community Sustainability Plan will be complete then too,? said Kruk.? We want to ensure Dawson Creek is still thriving when it celebrates its one hundredth birthday.?

The Community Excellence Award for Leadership and Innovation is a prestigious win for Dawson Creek. The award recognizes a municipality who ?leads the pack, takes risks to innovate, has established new partnerships or who doesn?t hesitate to question established ways of doing business and pioneering Minister of Community Services, Ida Chong, presented the Energy Aware Award to Dawson Creek Mayor Kruk. This is the second year in a row that the city has been recognized with this award, which is organized by the Community Energy Association, a charitable, non-profit society taking action on climate change and energy sustainability by assisting communities to develop and implement energy efficiency and green energy initiatives.

The city?s plan is comprehensive and includes replacing the current fleet of pickup trucks with energy efficient and right-sized vehicles and the installation this year of solar hot water pre-heaters on the city hall and fire hall. The city maintenance department is investigating the possibility of installing wind turbines at rural facilities such as the water treatment plant to offset the cost of pumping, heating and other expenses.

?There are pioneers still alive who participated in the settlement and development of this region during the 1900?s,? said Kruk. ?That?s the spirit of innovation, flexibility and creative thinking that is pushing us forward toward making Dawson Creek the most sustainable city in Canada. We?re well on our way.?