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Kelowna Climate Coalition Input on Climate Resilient Kelowna Strategy (CRKS)

DRAFT


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for discussion and review on Sunday June 2, at 6-8pm.


Introduction

As the City of Kelowna navigates the complex landscape of climate change and sustainability, it is crucial to adopt comprehensive strategies that address key drivers of climate resilience. This document outlines various strategies and actions that the city can implement to phase out fossil fuels urgently, improve energy efficiency, enhance public engagement, and ensure equitable distribution of environmental benefits. The aim is to create a robust framework for sustainable urban development that meets CleanBC targets and promotes long-term ecological balance.


Key Drivers (no comments on 7, 8, 10)


  1. Reduce Reliance on Vehicles 

  2. Transition to Efficient, Low-Carbon Vehicles

  3. Create Low Carbon, Efficient, Resilient Buildings

  4. Support Low Carbon Resilient Energy

  5. Create Complete, Compact, Resilient Communities

  6. Employ Nature-Based Solutions

  7. Reduce Emissions from Waste

  8. Increase the Resiliency of Infrastructure and Assets

  9. Improve Climate Emergency Preparedness

  10. Demonstrate Corporate Climate Leadership


Comments on Each 'Driver'

Key Driver 1: Reduce Reliance on Vehicles

  • Kelowna needs a big vision for rapid transit to connect all parts of our city and region. Kelowna needs to lead in collaborating with neighboring cities on supportive land uses.

  • benefiting the entire city.

  • Strategy T1: Create fast and reliable transit.  Figure 15: We take issue with this graphic;  it should be on a proper scale.  It shows cycling is right next to an electric car for higher emissions - this is highly inaccurate.  The graphic needs a scale to it.

  •  T1.1 New Transit Maintenance & Operations Centre (includes infrastructure for electric bus conversion).  If this is to be used as justification, there needs to be stronger links to how this will ACTUALLY result in fewer emissions.  The construction of a yard does not result in reduced emissions.  We  understand increased service might, but there is no guarantee of this, and barely a reference to it in the document.

  • Dedicated Transit Lanes.   This should meet the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) Gold Standard for Bus Rapid Transit. The City should evaluate the proposed system under the ITDP criteria or pay for a formal evaluation.

  • More frequent transit (e.g., increased service hours for custom transit, on-demand transit service).  RapidBus with full signal priority, queue jumping, and other BRT-lite features should be included on all frequent routes, with a set definition of frequent. This should include HandyDart and align with shift work.

  • Transit pass program expansion, including the option to expand the discounted funding pass program to reach more of those in need.   What steps are being taken to collaborate with Okanagan College (OC) to implement a UPass equivalent.?   Has the City engaged with OC employees, the Okanagan Transit Alliance, and other stakeholders; if not, will you? 

  • Implement all biking infrastructure projects in the TMP.  Commit to All Ages and Abilities (AAA) for all future bike lanes, and expand mode-shift projects to align with CleanBC mode shift targets.  As a senior I would like to bike more than I do but I do not feel safe doing so.  An opportunity to talk to planners about what I as a senior would need to feel safe on a bike lane would be useful.  So let’s get some public input arrangements going re biking infrastructure.

  • Increase investment in crosswalk safety, signals, and flashers.  Implement a Continuous Sidewalk design standard for all non-arterial roads and urban centers.

  • Increase investment in a Neighbourhood Traffic Calming Program.   Ensure that majority support equals implementation (currently if 31% are against, projects will not go ahead), and focus on protected intersections, neck downs, and other safety measures beyond speed bumps.

  • Improve bike and sidewalk year-round maintenance:  Increase to high or critical priority.

  • Develop and implement the Employer Commute Trip Reduction program.  Has the City committed to a Parking Cash-out program instead of a free parking pass program for employees?  Will large employers be encouraged to enroll in the transit pass program?

  • The City’s Transportation Master Plan misallocates funding to many road expansion projects supporting car-dependent sprawl rather than sustainable transportation

Key Driver 2: Transition to Efficient, Low-Carbon Vehicles

Key Driver 3: Create Low Carbon, Efficient, Resilient Buildings

Key Driver 4: Support Low Carbon Resilient Energy

Key Driver 5: Create Complete, Compact, Resilient Communities

Key Driver 6: Employ Nature-Based Solutions

Key Driver 9: Improve Climate Emergency Preparedness

General Comments:


  1. The Climate Resilience Strategy does not set Kelowna on a credible trajectory to achieve its current climate targets, let alone the higher level of ambition required within the next five years.

  2. While the plan includes many actions, the critical issue is how these actions contribute to phasing out fossil fuels in buildings and transportation and protecting the city from the growing impacts of the climate crisis.

  3. It’s not clear how the actions align with meeting both short-term and long-term targets. Most actions lack concrete, quantifiable commitments and mainly reference the existing Official Community Plan and Transportation Master Plan, which have resulted in car-oriented tall, sprawl, and strip mall development.

  4. In the background text on the website, it states, “The Climate Resilient Kelowna Strategy outlines actions to put us on a path to reduce community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% below 2007 levels by 2030 (and net zero emissions by 2050), while helping us become more resilient to climate change impacts.” Focus on the phrase “PUT US ON A PATH”; this implies we will not achieve these targets. What will actually be achieved in real numbers? This is a fundamental question that should be asked.

  5. Modeling the Future, P. 21:   Emissions Reduction Figure 9. We are in 2024, and the figure shows actions starting in 2016. Where are we in 2023 in actual numbers? Without lines, it’s tough to say exactly, but it looks as though we should be about 80-100 Kt less than where we were in 2016. There is no evidence provided to show if we are on track. What does the evidence and data say? Without accurate data, the inclusion of the model in the report and the statement “Kelowna could exceed the 40 per cent reduction target by 2030” is highly misleading or downright false.

  6. What is not discussed are the projects that contradict or work against achieving climate targets. For instance, $5.3 million allocated to road projects in 2024.

  7. Kelowna needs a big vision for rapid transit to connect all parts of our city and region. The city must lead in collaborating with neighboring cities on supportive land uses.

  8. Kelowna must revise area structure plans (sprawl), as they are outdated, assume continued car dependence, are unaffordable, contribute to congestion, and do not align with new provincial regulations. These plans should support sustainable transportation and reduce infrastructure costs while protecting Kelowna’s natural areas.

  9. The City’s Transportation Master Plan misallocates funding to many road expansion projects supporting car-dependent sprawl rather than sustainable transportation benefiting the entire city.

  10. On buildings, there needs to be a clear commitment to adopt the zero-carbon step code, promote heat pumps, especially during replacements or new air conditioning purchases, and engage with trades to encourage these measures.

  11. For commercial and multifamily buildings, energy benchmarking should be required, not just promoted, along with water benchmarking and building performance standards. The city also needs to commit to zero emissions for its buildings and reduce embodied emissions.

  12. Remove reliance on Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) in energy modeling,, as it assumes the province's 16% target by 2030 would be allocated to Kelowna's buildings, which is not a credible assumption. FortisBC’s resource modeling has proven insufficient supply for 100% decarbonization of buildings.

  13. Community-wide action and education, as well as a climate lens in decision-making, are acknowledged as necessary. The disconnect between community and climate action needs bridging through political leadership, a credible way to evaluate climate impacts, and a platform for community collaboration.

  14. In 2011, there were estimated to be 3.3 million trees in Kelowna valued at $1.1 billion. The current report does not specify the number of trees but states the value of trees in 2023 is $9.8 million, indicating Kelowna is falling behind on tree canopy needs.

  15. We are only 5.5 years from 2030 and need more urgency. Insufficient action will lead to climate migration from Kelowna, with people already considering leaving due to extreme heat.

  16. Questions to address: How do we add teeth to the strategy? How do we measure and adjust along the way? What happens if targets are not met?

  17. Energy poverty is a concern as people cannot afford to run air conditioners in May, let alone during summer.

  18. Kelowna has no target to fully decarbonize municipal buildings.

  19. Research and development at major manufacturers are now focused solely on heat pumps, not gas furnaces.

  20. Tree canopy targets are insufficient, particularly the 12% in urban centers where the heat is already extreme.

  21. There is no focus on embodied carbon.

  22. Area Structure Plans need updating to reflect the current climate reality and align with Clean BC targets and the Safe Mobility Action Plan.

  23. Car share should be offered more widely in multifamily residential buildings, with education/experience days arranged.

  24. Collaboration with post-secondary students, such as having Okanagan College graduates install heat pumps and heat pump water heaters in the Okanagan Mission Activity Centre, is needed.

  25. Will the City greenhouses grow native plants, not just annuals?

  26. A Sustainable Events Checklist should be implemented for all catered city events.

  27. Apply a climate lens to new hires’ duties, (i.e. for Landscape Design Technicians, include asking for knowledge and experience with native plantings..

  28. The survey should allow more opportunity for written feedback, providing sincere engagement opportunities.

  29. Synergy with WaterSmart and FireSmart initiatives should continue.

  30. A 3-30-300 rule is needed for tree canopy.

  31. I dont know where this would fit in, but closing off neighbourhoods to through traffic as is done in many other cities to make quieter streets with less traffic.

Comments as Questions (below)

Key Driver 1: Reduce Reliance on Vehicles

T1.2 Dedicated Transit Lanes

  • How does the City plan to meet the ITDP Gold Standard for Bus Rapid Transit? Will the proposed system be evaluated under ITDP criteria, and if so, when?

T1.3 More Frequent Transit

  • Does the plan for more frequent transit include RapidBus features like full signal priority, queue jumping, and other BRT-lite elements on all frequent routes? Will HandyDart services be included and aligned with shift work schedules?

T1.5 Transit Pass Program Expansion

  • What steps are being taken to collaborate with Okanagan College to implement a UPass equivalent and expand the discounted transit pass program to reach more people in need? Are there plans for direct transit routes to the airport?

T2.1 Implement All Biking Infrastructure Projects

  • How does the City plan to commit to All Ages and Abilities (AAA) for all future bike lanes and expand mode-shift projects to align with CleanBC mode shift targets?

T2.2 Increase Investment in Crosswalk Safety

  • What are the specific plans for implementing a Continuous Sidewalk design standard for all non-arterial roads and urban centers?

T2.3 Increase Investment in a Neighbourhood Traffic Calming Program

  • How will the City ensure majority support for implementing traffic calming measures, and what focus will be given to protected intersections, neck downs, and other safety measures beyond speed bumps?

T2.11 Improve Bike and Sidewalk Year-Round Maintenance

  • What steps will the City take to prioritize year-round maintenance of bike paths and sidewalks, making it a high or critical priority?

T4.1 Develop and Implement the Employer Commute Trip Reduction Program

  • Has the City committed to a Parking Cash-out program instead of a free parking pass program for employees? Will large employers be encouraged to enroll in the transit pass program?

Key Driver 2: Transition to Efficient, Low-Carbon Vehicles

Key Driver 3: Create Low Carbon, Efficient, Resilient Buildings

Key Driver 4: Support Low Carbon Resilient Energy

Key Driver 5: Create Complete, Compact, Resilient Communities

Key Driver 6: Employ Nature-Based Solutions

Key Driver 10: Demonstrate Corporate Climate Leadership





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