(Derek Ford / District of Saanich)
Greater Victoria residents are among the most credit-worthy Canadians, but overall debt level continues to rise. (Derek Ford / District of Saanich)

(Derek Ford / District of Saanich) Greater Victoria residents are among the most credit-worthy Canadians, but overall debt level continues to rise. (Derek Ford / District of Saanich)

Saanich gets an ‘A’ on first climate change progress report card

The document highlights sustainability improvements made in 2020 despite the pandemic

Saanich is highlighting sustainability improvements it made throughout the community in 2020, despite the pandemic, in a first-of-its-kind climate accountability report.

The district released its Climate Plan Report Card on Feb. 23.

“COVID-19 has impacted our implementation this year and some of the Climate Plan actions identified for 2020 have not been initiated or are behind schedule,” Saanich said in a news release. “However, despite this, there has been an incredible amount of climate work implemented by the District of Saanich, our partners, and community members with many inspiring examples of adapting climate action to new constraints.”

Saanich is one of six Canadian and 88 global cities to score the top “A” grade in 2020 for reporting climate and environmental impacts by Carbon Disclosure Project, which measures and manages cities’ risks and opportunities on climate change, water security and deforestation.

ALSO READ: Saanich aims to help homeowners dump their oil tanks for heat pumps

Saanich’s most recent greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory shows the community saw a 14 per cent decrease in emissions between the 2007 baseline and 2018, while corporate emissions fell by 19 per cent between 2007 and 2020. The district called this “good news,” but acknowledged there’s still work to be done as it hopes to reach its 50 per cent reduction goal in community emissions by 2030 and corporate GHGs by 2025. The district has also released a guidebook that helps residents measure their own emissions, gives tips on how they can reduce their personal impact and how they can prepare for the changing climate.

Saanich also took action on implementing more sustainable buildings and electric vehicle infrastructure last year.

New buildings are now required to have parking stalls electrified and ready to install EV chargers, and be built to achieve energy efficiency that go beyond B.C. Building Code requirements.

The report card outlines some of the ways Saanich is moving away from fossil fuel dependence. In 2020, 100 households received rebates to switch from fossil fuel heating to renewable energy heating via heat pumps and Saanich says 100 per cent of its municipal car fleet has been replaced with EVs.

“As our residents may know, Saanich has made great progress on many of the actions in the plan,” said Mayor Fred Haynes, in the release. “While we have much more to do, we aim to lead by example as we all work to make the community a better place for ourselves and our children.”

The release says its 2020 climate plan – and the progress made so far – was built on decades of climate action work done by previous councils, staff and community members.

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