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Nelson Next being implemented, climate and energy manager says

The City of Nelson’s climate plan is now moving from conception to reality, according to the woman tasked with carrying it out.

Climate and energy manager Carmen Proctor says getting to the implementation phase would not be possible without support from the city.

“Our team is not the only ones responsible for all the climate action work in Nelson,” says Proctor. “We are supporting the city as an organization as well as the community.”

She says the plan, called Nelson Next, will be rolled out  in a five stage implementation process over the course of 10 years. The plan’s second phase starts in 2023 and is scheduled for completion in 2025.

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Proctor says phase two will focus on the three main carbon contributors, and targeting them should help address the largest climate risks to the city such as wildfires, windstorms, and heat.

“There are three key areas we need to work on to reduce emissions,” says Proctor. “Transportation, buildings and waste are the biggest emitters that we currently have in Nelson.”

Proctor says transportation is a big component of emissions and they are already implementing a solution which involves an increasing demand for e-bikes, but she knows there are still challenges to make this mode of transportation affordable to everyone.

“We do recognize that our programs and loans do not include renters,” she says. “We are looking for solutions to that right now, as we work to revamp our website and make e-transportation more affordable to all.”

Proctor says making sure buildings and other infrastructure produce zero carbon and are resilient are also priorities , and this is already being done through identifying high emission buildings and determining a way to reduce those emissions.

“Fortis has actually agreed to fully fund a new role,” says Proctor. “We really need to have a better look at the energy portfolio as we are looking for what the best approach will be for implementing Nelson Next.”

She says assistance with reducing carbon emissions from existing structures will come from funding with Fortis climate action partners, a new position, and a sustainable energy and maintenance plan with community participation.

Currently, the Nelson Civic Centre is scheduled for a $5 million upgrade to improve energy efficiency which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent.

Proctor says the next step for the climate group is to hold focus groups with staff and finalize the Nelson Next implementation plan in early 2023.

She says the implementation plan is not a new climate plan, nor is it a list of projects or checklist.

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