British Columbia

Councillor mobilizes civic politicians to fight climate change

Rik Logtenberg's Climate Leadership Caucus has already enlisted 57 councillors and mayors from across Canada since January. 

Climate Leadership Caucus lobbying for federal, provincial funding for municipal projects

Rik Logtenberg's Climate Leadership Caucus has so far enlisted 57 councillors and mayors from across Canada. (submitted by Rik Logtenberg)

A Nelson, B.C., city councillor is encouraging civic politicians to team up to combat climate change.

Rik Logtenberg's Climate Leadership Caucus has already enlisted 57 councillors and mayors from across Canada, mostly from B.C., since January. 

The caucus, which will serve as both a networking group and a lobby group, was assembled to push for provincial and federal funding for various municipal-level projects. Logtenberg says getting municipalities on board to help deal with climate change is key.

"I think arguably they play the biggest role. While they're individually fairly small, put together, the impacts that they have are bigger than the province or the country of Canada," Logtenberg told Gloria Macarenko, host of CBC's On The Coast.

He points out that waste, buildings and transportation are under the jurisdiction of municipalities — but that cities often don't have the funding to handle them in a sustainable way.

In terms of transportation, Logtenberg wants to help residents transition from cars to transit and options like electric bikes. This would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and solve parking issues.

Regarding buildings, Logtenberg says Nelson is eyeing a project that would retrofit homes, making them more energy efficient by installing renewable electric power systems and solar water heaters, for example. 

Quebec conference

The Climate Leadership Caucus is preparing to lobby at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec City on May 31.

It's the first time it will sit as a group with the federal government, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and various federal ministers scheduled to attend.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has already committed to meeting the group at the conference.

The caucus will have specific requests assembled by early April. Logtenberg says they are asking for federal funding directed toward municipal projects on environmental adaptation and fire mitigation.

Logtenberg says the caucus has already lobbied for funding from the province, and will continue to do so.

"Wildfire is a big issue for a lot of us in the Interior. We need the province to be working with us on doing wildfire mitigation but also looking at what the impacts in terms of our greenhouse gases emissions are through the forest," Logtenberg said.  

Listen to the full interview here:

With files from On The Coast


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