Lily Nurse, three, was one of the youngest protesters at a Climate Strike event at the Township Civic Facility last year. The Township is now moving ahead with a climate action plan. (Langley Advance Times files)

Lily Nurse, three, was one of the youngest protesters at a Climate Strike event at the Township Civic Facility last year. The Township is now moving ahead with a climate action plan. (Langley Advance Times files)

Township council mulls climate action costs

Public consultation begins later this year on a 20-year plan to cut carbon emissions

Langley Township aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions by almost half over the next decade, and to zero over 20 years, with its climate action strategy.

A reduction of 45 per cent in carbon emissions across the board for government, business, and homes in the Township is envisioned by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2040.

Community emissions will need to drop by 850,000 tons over the next 10 years to hit the 2030 goal, according to the report.

The plan contains more than 140 specific actions the Township could take, with many of the measures broken down into five “big moves,” according to a report the mayor and council heard from staff on June 29.

The big moves are:

1 – Safe and sustainable transportation, which would see more than half of passenger trips taken by bus, bike, foot, or electric vehicle, rather than a majority by internal combustion vehicles.

2 – Transition to all new buildings constructed to create zero emissions by 2030. That would mean no new building would depend on fossil fuels for heating, hot water, or cooking.

3 – Zero emission existing buildings – That would see more than half of existing homes, shops, and industrial sites retrofitted to eliminate natural gas and fuel-oil furnaces and water heating systems.

4 – Zero emission operations – The Township is to hit zero emissions by 2040, 10 years ahead of the rest of the community. That means zero emissions from buildings and replacing much of the Township’s vehicle fleet.

5 – Resilient natural systems – This section focuses on creating an increased tree canopy and rainwater capture, to create a more resilient natural environment.

The cost of all of this would be around $130 annually for a representative household over the next 10 years. The cost in 2021 per household is expected to be lower, around $30 to $42 going towards the various projects. Not all of those costs would be new money.

In fact, close to 70 per cent of the actions in the plan will initiatives that are already going on, or look at programs through a climate change lens, said Tess Rouse, the Township’s manager of climate action.

The Township has already been working towards multiple green initiatives going back years, noted Harb Chohan, the Township’s director of facilities and sustainability. But it hasn’t stopped the increase in carbon emissions in a growing Township.

“In fact, our community emissions have increased by 13 per cent over the last decade,” Chohan said.

The council would eventually vote unanimously to move forward to the next phase of the plan, which is to spend the late summer and fall gathering public feedback and comments. Work on the big moves is anticipated to begin in 2021, pending council’s approval of specific projects.

But cost was a concern for several councillors, including the fact that there is not yet a detailed budget.

“Big moves looks to me like it’s going to be big bucks,” Richter said.

After she made a motion calling for a referral until more financial information can be gathered, staff said they will be able to provide a somewhat more detailed update for council before the August break. But numbers can’t be completely detailed for multiple projects over 20 years.

Staff also emphasized that some funding is expected from the federal and provincial governments, and from Crown corporations like BC Hydro.

Several councillors and staff emphasized that it’s expected to be more costly to start these programs later.

“I think the longer you’re going to wait, the more you’re going to pay,” Long said.

“You’re making an investment now, to save costs down the road,” said Chohan.

It was also noted during discussion that some expenditures will lead to long-term energy savings, as with a decision this year by the Township to replace all its street lights with LED lights. The upfront cost will be saved over the next few years through much lower power bills.

Several councillors noted that they knew there would be costs to any climate change strategy.

“I think every council member knew this was not just meant to be a political statement, but it was actually meant to be something that we would move forward on, and a new way of living in our community,” said Coun. Blair Whitmarsh.

The changes required will mean some line items will have to be in every budget for the next few decades, such as replacing older vehicle with electric ones, noted Coun. David Davis.

He also noted that saving energy came naturally when resources were scarce.

When he was a boy, “I went to turn up the thermostat, and grandma turned it down and put a sweater on me,” Davis said.

Climate changeLangleyLangley Townshipmunicipal politics

Just Posted

One of the tiny western toads during the 2019 migration. (Langley Advance Times files)
Environmentalists prep for annual Langley toad migration

South Langley will soon have tens of thousands of toads on the move

Blading for bees, led by Aldergrove resident Zach Choboter, headed through B.C. (Special to The Star)
Aldergrove’s bee blader crosses the prairies

Zach Choboter has rollerbladed from Whistler to Alberta in two weeks

Tourism Langley has put together Father’s Day gift boxes that support local businesses and aid the Langley Food Bank. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
This Father’s Day, you can support Langley businesses and aid the Food Bank

Tourism Langley brings back their popular gift boxes

Marsha Miller walked through the Derek Doubleday Arboretum Friday afternoon, reading the info stations about residential schools and their impact on Indigenous Canadians. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Langley vigil for residential school victims brings forth powerful emotions

Tears from visitors even before evening event, organizer said

Trinity Western University held a vigil Tuesday as well as having two more on Thursday, June 10 to honour the 215 children whose remains were buried at a residential school in Kamloops. Their remains were found with ground-penetrating radar. (TWU/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Langley university vigils honour the 215 children buried at Kamloops residential school

Indigenous leader offers suggestions on how to process the devastating information and on healing

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Most Read