The Regional District of Central Kootenay has released its new plan for public engagement around its climate action plan.
At the end of May, the RDCK decided to postpone open houses throughout the region that were scheduled to take place throughout the summer.
The sessions are intended to give residents the opportunity to voice concerns regarding the RDCK climate action plan that was originally scheduled to roll out at the end of August.
This morning in a media release the RDCK outlined its redesigned, two-step plan for public engagement sessions that includes both online and in person seminars for residents to engage regardless of their location or conflicting schedules.
“The RDCK community has emphasized the need for transparency and open communication. We have heard you. We have streamlined the ways the public can get involved, both in-person and online, to provide feedback and influence the proposed climate action plan,” said the release.
RDCK chair Aimee Watson says safety concerns that were partially responsible for the rescheduling have been resolved.
“At the time those were canceled there were certain communications directed to our staff that I have heard have not continued. So, we’ve been able to have good discussions around healthy engagement. Even if it’s dissenting. There’s a difference between threatening and dissenting. Saying people to ‘watch their back’ or that they ‘need to be careful,’ there’s a distinction between disagreement and threatening when there is disagreement,” said Watson.
Watson also said the decision to reschedule was not made to avoid public concerns but to allow for meaningful conversations.
“Engagement has never been an issue for us. We have no opposition to engagement. Even when it’s dissenting, that’s never been a concern. Getting it right and ensuring that there’s space for the actual context of the plan as well as the debate on the science which overtook some of the conversations, just ensuring we get the format correct has been the focus.”
In a follow up interview, Paris Marshall Smith, sustainability planner with the RDCK, stated the two-step approach is to ensure everyone gets the chance to have their concerns heard
“Starting in July to October, the mix of in-person and online engagements are an opportunity for residents to review all the information and actions, provide feedback, and interact with RDCK staff on how best to strengthen community resilience throughout the RDCK.”
Marshall Smith also said they have extended the in-person open houses from two hours to three.
“We wanted to allow for a longer period and also a diversity of people’s schedules. Not everyone’s available or wants to come out for an evening session and also make the most of our time in going to communities so that we could really have a chance to talk with people one on one,” she says.
“We’re here to listen and we’re wanting to learn about people’s experience regarding climate action. We are hosting longer sessions now and that allows time for a structured discussion, but also a more fluid discussion where people can come in and we’ll have posters and people can chat with us and ask questions.”
Marshall Smith says they have paused the roll out of the climate action plan until proper public engagement has been complete.
“We’re not ready to say what we need to do around the climate action plan. We want it to be informed by the engagement of the next six months. Then we’re going to spend a lot of effort to compile and make sure that all the feedback that we’ve received goes to the board and is listened to and informs our next steps.”
She said they are potentially looking at rolling the plan out in the new year.
“We are tentatively proposing February of next year. We’re definitely not taking action on the plan, but we do feel like this is critical work to build a stronger and more vibrant future. So, we’re still committed to our goals around climate action, but we’re just determining what makes sense and what is the best way forward for everybody.”
The online sessions start this Monday and the rescheduled open houses will begin again at the end of August.
For the webinar and open house schedules see below.
|REGISTER for Resource Recovery & Land Use||Monday, July 10||1:30 pm – 2:30 pm|
|REGISTER for Buildings & Energy||Tuesday, July 11||2:30 pm – 3:30 pm|
|REGISTER for Transportation||Thursday, July 13||10:30 am – 11:30 am|
|REGISTER for Food & Agriculture & Wildfire||Monday, July 17||1:00 pm – 2:00 pm|
|REGISTER for Water||Wednesday, July 19||11:00 am – 12:00 pm|
|REGISTER for Emergency, Floods & Geohazards||Monday, July 24||2:00 pm – 3:00 pm|
|CLIMATE ACTION OPEN HOUSES|
|August 24||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Slocan Park Community Hall, 2036 BC 6, Slocan Park (Area H)|
|August 28||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Hills Community Fire Hall, 4480 Highway 6, Hills (Area H)|
|August 29||5:00 pm – 8:00 pm||Creston Recreation Centre, 312 19th Ave N, Creston (Creston, Areas B & C)|
|August 30||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Salmo Youth & Community Centre (Gym), 206 7th St, Salmo (Area G & Salmo)|
|September 5||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Wynndel Hall (Upper Hall), 5127 Wynndel Rd, Wynndel (Area A)|
|September 6||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Bosun Hall, 710 Bellevue St, New Denver (Area H)|
|September 7||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Balfour Hall, 602 Queens Bay Rd, Balfour (Area E)|
|September 8||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Lardeau Valley Community Club, 13429 BC-31, Meadow Creek (Area D)|
|September 11||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Crawford Bay Hall, 16230 Wadds Rd, Crawford Bay (Area A)|
|September 12||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Yahk Community Hall, 8790 Railway Ave, Yahk (Area B)|
|September 18||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Brilliant Cultural Centre, 1876 Brilliant Rd, Castlegar (Area I)|
|October 2||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Castlegar & District Recreation Centre (Selkirk Room), 2101 6th Ave, Castlegar (Castlegar & Area I)|
|October 3||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Kaslo Legion, 403 Fifth St, Kaslo (Kaslo & Area D)|
|October 10||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Nakusp & District Community Complex (Auditorium), 200 8th Ave NW, Nakusp (Nakusp & Area K)|
|October 11||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Robson Hall, 3067 Waldie Rd, Robson (Area J)|
|October 16||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Taghum Hall, 5915 Taghum Hall Rd, Nelson (Area E)|
|October 17||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||North Shore Hall – 675 Whitemore Rd, Nelson (Nelson and Area F)|
|October 23||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Burton Hall, 125 Burton Main Rd (Area K)|
|October 24||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Appledale Hall, Appledale Park Rd, Central Kootenay (Area H)|
|October 25||4:00 pm – 7:00 pm||Procter Hall, 246 3rd Ave, Procter (Area E)|