Community Climate Action Seed Funding Recipients Announced
The Community Climate Action Seed Funding Pilot Project is off to an exciting start with 11 projects each being awarded seed funding as Sooke works towards reducing our emissions by 50% by 2030.
"This is a goal that we can achieve by working together,” says Mayor Maja Tait. "In this first year of implementation of our Climate Action Plan, the focus is on building a foundation and community capacity as next priority areas are identified."
The Sooke 2030 Climate Action Plan was adopted in principle in July 2022 and funding through the Provincial Local Government Climate Action Program provided monetary support to get the program going without impacting property taxes.
Community Climate Action Seed Funding in 2023 is being allocated to:
- Growing Community in the Edward Milne Community School Garden ($2,020);
- Fireweed Society's Sooke Education Strategy and Community Engagement ($5,000);
- Friends of Sooke Parks Society's Park Enhancement Program ($5,000);
- Fair Trade Book Publication and Event ($1,000);
- North Sooke Community Association FireSmart Street Project ($1,000);
- 606 Water Group's Operation Watershed ($6,000);
- Sooke Country Market supporting volunteer capacity ($5,000);
- Sooke Region Tourism Association's alignment of climate action visions with the Sooke 2030 Climate Action Plan ($5,000);
- Transition Sooke Community Garden Project ($3,500);
- Zero Waste Sooke (Transition Sooke) Repair Cafe and Swap and Shop Events ($2,500); and
- The Pointe at Sunriver's FireSmart Project ($1,000)
A Pathway to 2030
A simplified formula for reducing community emissions and reaching the 2030 target is recognizing changes in home heating and transportation. An approximate 7% per year reduction in emissions means 250 residents transitioning to heating and cooling systems such as a heat pump and transitioning from combustion engine travel to other methods such as travel by transit, carpooling or travel by electric vehicle.
"There seems to be confusion and concern about emission reduction strategies being costly or cumbersome," shares District's Communications Coordinator, Christina Moog. "As with many things – some items cost more and some less. Our focus on the implementation of the Climate Action Plan is, ultimately, enhancing the quality of life for all citizens in Sooke and being fiscally prudent in the process. When we think about time and cost-saving benefits, we get excited! Often solutions that bring about emission reduction have these other benefits in common and that's where our focus currently lies."
On an annual basis, the District revisits the Sooke 2030 Climate Action Plan to identify a project list for the following year. Other initiatives set to take shape in 2023 include:
- Municipal fleet assessment and initiation of a replacement policy of municipal vehicles with zero-emission alternatives;
- Complete low-carbon resilience and accessibility audits on all municipal facilities, prioritizing upgrades where feasible and highest risk;
- Upgrades to transit stops;
- Collaboration with School District 62 to identify alternative pick-up/drop-off solutions to reduce traffic congestion related to school operations; and
- Initiating efforts to develop a co-working space – improving access to remote-work options in Sooke to reduce the need to commute for work.
A report on emission reduction progress (or lack thereof) given current growth is expected later this year.