• Member Profile: District of Saanich's Climate Change Programs
    Member Profile: District of Saanich
    Highlighting Saanich's Climate Change Programs
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 00:00

Member Profile: District of Saanich's Climate Change Programs

Written by  Christina Schwantes


Congratulations to the district of Saanich on their enthusiastic effort to pursue a broad range of climate change adaptation practices and action plans, and for engaging the community at a local level through various programs and opportunities.

We are very pleased to welcome the District of Saanich to ICLEI as our newest Canadian Member! The District is a suburban municipality on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It is located north of the provincial capital, Victoria, and has a population of 110,000, making it the most populous municipality on Vancouver Island and the seventh most populous in the province. The municipality is named after the Saanich First Nation, and means "emerging land" or "emerging people.”

Since the early 1980’s, the District of Saanich has been a leader in taking action on climate change. More recently, in 2008, the District revised its Official Community Plan (OCP) which committed the municipality to develop and implement a Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions, both corporately and in the community, and a Climate Change Adaptation Plan.  In 2010, the municipality released a comprehensive Climate Change Adaptation Discussion Paper that detailed the potential climate change impacts for the district.  These included increasing summer and winter temperatures, land reduction in areas suited for Spruce and Douglas fir species, and significant sea level rise over the next 100 years.  After evaluating risks and assessing suitable adaptation processes sector by sector, the Saanich Climate Action Plan was adopted by Council in 2010, and the Climate Change Adaptation Plan was adopted a year later in 2011.  Since then, Saanich has managed to reduce its corporate emissions by 18% and has set a target of 50% reduction by 2020.

The District continues to promote and lead a variety of programs that support community members, businesses and institutions in combating climate change and pursing adaptation and mitigation strategies.  These include the Saanich Carbon Champion campaign, the Communities in Harvest program; and a variety of rebate and sustainable incentive programs.  Saanich has established an innovative Carbon Fund which directs offsetting funds to corporate greenhouse gas reduction projects.  They also publish regular reports on action plans and implementation progress. 

Every year, Saanich hosts their own Environmental Awards, taking open nominations for individuals, businesses or organizations in the municipality. The awards recognize individual environmental achievements, business achievements, biodiversity conservation, sustainability, long-term environmental achievements, and group or volunteer organization achievements in the interest of the environment.  Nominations are received by the Saanich Environment and Natural Areas Advisory Committee (ENA) and evaluated based on the significance of the project, duration and magnitude of effort, degree of innovation, longterm sustainability, and past efforts. Nominations are now open for 2015!

Saanich has also been awarded top honours in the ICLEI and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program. The Municipality has achieved all five milestones for both corporate and community programs, making it just the 8th municipality in Canada to achieve this status and the first on Vancouver Island! Read more.

To find out more about the District of Saanich’s sustainability and climate change initiatives, visit http://www.saanich.ca/EN/main/community/sustainable-saanich.html