2018 Civic Election – Question 1 Responses


Question 1:

Global Climate Change

Global climate change is the greatest environmental challenge ever recognized by human society. We are awash in dire warnings from the scientific community. We see enormous impacts around the world, including but not limited to drought, fire, severe storms, record high temperatures, famine, loss of species diversity, warming oceans, sea level rise, etc.

How do you see climate change affecting the Sunshine Coast and, as a local government official, what climate change related actions do you propose?

*Please also consider the optional climate change accountability question from our event partner: the Georgia Strait Alliance.

Steve Baker
Candidate for SCRD Area D

The effects of climate change are generating concerns with properties at risk of rising tides and the District needs to start attending to the protection of low properties (particular those public areas that may be at risk). Keeping informed on the science at the potential of risk over time needs to be reflected in long term planning.
Storm surges and higher winds require property owners and public resources to develop prevention plans to ensure residents are prepared to deal with damage or potential damage from increases storms. Drought and water supply also need to be addressed in preparation for longer drought periods as well as higher risk of fire.
Local government needs to be aware and monitor risk and include strategies to inform and educate the public on the long term probabilities associated with climate change.

Bill Beamish
Candidate for Gibsons Mayor

As candidate for mayor I am not going to try to convince you that I am an expert or have any special in-depth knowledge about or solutions to the issues that you have identified in this questionnaire. To do so would only serve to demonstrate my lack knowledge.

However, I have attempted to respond to each question and am prepared to listen and learn more about these issues from experts and people with direct knowledge and experience in the areas identified. I am also prepared to discuss them with you.

The observed impacts of climate change demonstrate that we cannot take nature for granted and that we must be accountable for our actions and find man made solutions for man made problems. I have advocated for Gibsons and other communities that I have worked with to develop strategies to adapt to or mitigate the impacts of climate change including: waterfront protection from rising water levels and storm surge, including king tides; forest cleanup to remove flammable materials near settled areas and homes; protection of water sources and watersheds; protection of infrastructure by raising services to docks and marine facilities from the underside of wharves to the topside; long-term protection of forests as carbon sinks; requiring property owners and developers to include considerations of climate change impacts for developments, including increased water levels and increased surface impacts from rain and drought.

I lived in the interior of BC and witnessed first hand the cumulative impacts of the destruction of the pine forests resulting from the pine beetle and subsequent damage from logging and run off and loss of top soils and increased flooding. Today, these areas are experiencing forest fires in stands of dead trees.

Working with council, the SCRD and other levels of government I will continue to stress the importance of planning to adapt to or mitigate the effects climate change on our community. I will also encourage the implementation of a program to subsidise rain water barrels for homeowners while prioritizing adaptive strategies in development. Will also encourage greater use of solar, geo-thermal and other alternative methods for heat and electrical generation for homes and public facilities.

While working for the Town of Gibsons I contributed a chapter to a book published by the Federation of Community Municipalities “Stepping Up to the Climate Change Challenge” (2008), in which I identified the following concerns for our community:

“the impacts of rising water on waterfront development and on the town’s aquifer; the need to establish new standards for residential and commercial development; the need to protect the harbour infrastructure; tree maintenance; and the management of public areas and private lands that will be impacted by increasingly severe winds and storm events.” I included the following list of initiatives that smaller sized communities should consider when planning for climate change:

• Communicate and Dialogue with the local community
• Develop relationships with key partners
• Exchange information with other communities and orders of government
• Apply for grants to assist with local projects
• Inquire and be aware of what is happening elsewhere
• Take a strong leadership position”

These actions or initiatives are still important today and even though our community has demonstrated strong leadership in respect to managing the natural environment, we still need to ensure the protection of our key assets like our water and our watershed, and to ensure that we do not take our environment for granted.

In February 2018, I applied for a grant to develop a Community Based Climate Monitoring Project in Tuktoyaktuk which was approved in June 2018 for $517,000 over 3 years. This project has commenced and is employing a consultant, Johan Stoman, from Gibsons to develop the education components of the project. The Project has also established a community based steering committee and is working closely with the Aurora Institute, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, NRC Canada and other key agencies within the community. Click here for a copy of this application for reference.

Verna Chan
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

We are already seeing the effects of climate change with warmer summer temperatures, drought, forest fires and the accompanying changes in wildlife activity--as well as the decrease in fish populations and increased fragility in larger ocean mammals. I will admit that I am not well-versed on this subject but, from my recent study I understand that with a predicted 1 meter rise in sea levels by 2100 and increased storm possibilities may affect Gibsons shoreline and infrastructure. Care needs to be taken with any development along the shoreline.

For our part, we need to continue to work with all levels of government to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and add incentives for greener choices--choosing electric vehicles, energy-efficient options for new developments and buildings, going toward zero-waste and lessening our reliance on land-fills, creating walkable neighbourhoods.

Everyone needs to be aware of our combined accountability.

David Croal
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

We are faced with difficult issues with respect to climate, and the protection of our environment. Sadly money seems to make the world go round to quote a trite cliché -- sad but true, often our fate is determined in board rooms not even within our national boundaries.

My sir name may mean little to you, but as a family the Croals are very concerned and have been concerned for generations for the protection of the environment. My grandfather and father had degrees in horticulture, My Uncle Jim, was an arctic consultant and for years warned of our impact on that fragile environment. My cousin Peter is an environmental consultant, and is part of the National Healing Forests project and is also working in the high North. My mother was inducted into the hall of fame in her community for environmental stewardship.
Every time I see a clearing occur, or a fire ravage the landscape, not only in our communities, and province and country but on this planet I grieve – this is our lungs being impacted, this is wildlife habitat destroyed, this is the moderation of climate being impacted. We need to work together at all levels of government, nationally and internationally to protect this planet – there is no option.

Answer to Q1:
I am still amazed that today as I campaign there are still some who say we are just going through a climate cycle and that man has little or no effect on it. Call it what you will, our climate is being impacted exponentially by various factors.
Our community with it’s foreshore is totally vulnerable to the impact of climate change, more severe storms and the threat not only to our forests but to the infrastructure upon which we depend, The situation in Ottawa recently and thousands without power as utilities were ravaged. Rising sea levels are but one aspect of this change but with additional rain fall the sea water is changing in composition, more fresh waster is being added to the mix, often bring turbidity with it destroying fish habitat and breeding grounds.
The extreme drought periods we are experiencing on the Coast, increasing the fire hazard, our local fire fighters have been helping other communities, but should this trend continue we well may find ourselves in a situation of who will help us.
We are but a small voice, but we need to partner with our local communities, the regional district and work to develop plans to deal with these rising concerns and issues.
With new development we need to do a “Risk Assessment” as to how this project will impact on the environment and by that, I mean the existing community, and the natural environment and eco system.

Annemarie De Andrade
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

The Sunshine Coast is not immune from any of the threats described in this question. However, some threats are more imminent than others, such as forest fires. As councilor, I will urge that the Town of Gibsons, the SCRD and neighboring communities in the Sunshine Coast become Recognized FireSmart Communities and develop coordinated emergency responses locally and regionally. We must prepare our community for next summer potential drought and risk of fire.

I would also work towards developing and implementing a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Gibsons to enhance our adaptive capacity and resilience and reduce long-term costs associated with climate change. While the Town has undertaken climate change mitigation efforts such as the greenhouse reduction targets of 7% by 2030, and an important climate change adaptation initiative such as the proposed Seawalk Improvement Project, it is strategic that we approach this issue in a proactive and integrated way.

In 2012, the province issued Preparing for Climate Change - An Implementation Guide for Local Governments in British Columbia. Many cities throughout BC have prepared their Climate Change Adaptation strategies, which process includes:

o Identifying climate change impacts and assessing risks and vulnerabilities
o Identifying and evaluating adaptation options
o Implementing, monitoring, and updating adaptation strategies

The Guide also observes that:

o When developing climate change adaptation strategies, community consultation and engagement in solutions will be more important than ever, particularly because of the potential trade-offs that will be required.

o Local governments will also need to work collaboratively with other local governments, senior governments, government agencies, First Nations, academia and professional associations in order to enhance their capacity related to expertise and resources, and to coordinate responses to climate change.

o Equally important will be to have climate change adaptation policy objectives in the OCP to ensure that subsequent legal enactments, such as zoning bylaws, must be consistent with those objectives.

Therefore, the key work in the climate change arena for the Town of Gibsons is to develop a comprehensive Climate Change Adaptation Plan following the principles above and work towards its implementation based on priority actions and available resources. Such Plan will also assess the real costs of adapting for climate change, which is key when seeking to recover a fair share of climate costs from the fossil fuel companies.

Carol Doyle
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

I have reviewed all the questions and given great thought into each of one of them. Climate Change, Sustainable Water, Adequate Environmental Regulations and the Forests are all of great interest and concern to everyone on the Coast and indeed in the province and across Canada.

However these areas fall under the jurisdiction of the Regional Districts, and or the Province and, in some cases the Federal Government. As a Municipal Government we can lobby for causes, for and against for each and every one of these as issues pertaining to them may arise in our immediate area but decisions cannot be made at the Municipal level rather they will be made at the higher levels of government.

I thank your organization for being the watchdog on these very important environmental issues.

Cathrine Fuller
Candidate for SCRD Area D

Projections for the effect of climate change on the Sunshine Coast over the next 20 years indicate that while we can expect even more rain in the winter, our summers will be longer, hotter and drier. This strengthens my commitment to quickly begin work on a long term solution to our water crisis. Increased water catchment seems an obvious component for both immediate and long term management solutions.
With drier, hotter summers comes a growing concern about wild fires. We’ve been very lucky to escape the devastation experienced in other parts of the province, but it would be foolish to expect our luck to hold. We need to start taking measures to protect our primary water source as well as vulnerable residential areas.
It’s also important to recognize that climate change is impacting everything around us and it just makes good sense to encourage and protect local food supplies.
The other thing the future holds is an increased likelihood of extreme climate events. That means we have to be thinking about areas that are susceptible to tidal surges and developing plans to mitigate those risks. Parts of Sechelt are only 8 meters above sea level and Lower Gibsons is 10 meters.
Further we need to ensure that development doesn't take place in high-risk areas. We should be evaluating logging plans on both public and private lands with consideration to the potential impact on surface water flows and soil stability (landslide risks).

Jacqueline Gillis
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

So, global climate change is too massive an issue to cover in response to your query. Obviously it’s real. Scientific consensus and all. It’s something I studied in university, something I take a keen interest in, and something I am fairly knowledgeable about. But I need to narrow it down, so, I’m going to talk about two aspects that will affect Sechelt the most: a. Water Storage unreliability (as snow pack is no longer predictable). b. Sea level rise.

a. We currently rely on the snowpack as our main method of water storage for the Sunshine Coast. This isn’t really workable going forward, because snowpack isn’t going to be consistent from year to year anymore. In addition, the warming trends on the horizon (and that we’re currently facing), will make our climate much more like that of San Diego (or a Mediterranean-type climate classification). Meaning, we will have much more protracted dry summers, with less rainfall. What this means to the Sunshine Coast, is that we can no longer rely on natural cycles to replenish our water. We need to implement storage solutions to mitigate these changes to our climate (and weather). The good news is that even the most drastic and elaborate reservoir is still a cheap and easy fix, compared to what places like California are facing.

ASIDE: Also, we need to be able to water our properties, a little, initially. As summers get drier, the current landscaping around Sunshine Coast properties is at high risk for fire, because much of it is meant to have a consistent water supply. New building should require landscaping that isn’t water intensive, and is also low fire risk if little to no rain falls during the hot, summer months.

b. Sea level is rising. However, so far the effect is negligible, except when combined with another side effect of climate change, larger storms. In the past, a storm might have a surge probably wouldn’t cause damage to homes in Sechelt. However, combine the increased energy (and fury) of the warming oceans with any rise in sea levels, and suddenly those storm surges can become catastrophic. I’ve been following the issues faced in the US, particularly low lying areas such as the Chesapeake Bay areas of Norfolk and Suffolk, Virginia. They are having to repair and replace storm-damaged housing, and public infrastructure, far more often than in past decades. Who pays for this? What are the safety concerns? See, people think sea level rise is going to be like the movie Waterworld, where somehow everything ends up catastrophically underwater. But that isn’t the issue. At least not in the near future. The issue is the frequency of flooding and storm damage. Where, in the past, an area like Davis Bay might get flooded every hundred years (this is not a scientific assessment, I’m just throwing out numbers for illustrative purposes), now it might get flooded every ten years. Or, it might get flooded twice in a particularly bad year. What does this mean to the District of Sechelt? Who is responsible for the infrastructure repairs? Who is responsible for home repairs? At what point do we abandon certain areas deemed too unstable to remain occupied. These are HUGE issues We already have flooding in Davis Bay that creates a driving danger every winter, particularly when it rains a great deal. This kind of flooding will only get worse with global warming.

Mark Hiltz
Candidate for SCRD Area F

With climate change the past weather patterns will be less useful for predicting future weather. We need to get ready for weather related events as never before. Nature has no sympathy for humans.

Storm surges along with sea level rise has already lead to erosion along the Hopkins Beach area, the Gibsons Seawall, and increased saltwater infiltration into the Gibsons sewer system. More intense rainfalls exceed culvert capacities causing washouts along Port Mellon Highway, Russell and Reed Roads. More than anything we need to believe that the change is here now and acknowledge we need to prepare.

At the local level, our parks can be the showcases of how to manage water, trees, and invasive species. Knotweed has become established in Shirley Macey Park (Soames Creek headwaters) because of importing fill contaminated with knotweed. Encouraging tree retention and planting of trees in parks and private property is definitely worth the effort. Even leaving stumps in place helps water to reach the deeper soil layers.

Darren Inkster
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

Climate change will affect the Sunshine Coast with rising sea levels, dryer summers and wet winters with minimal snow and small snowpack. We must continue to encourage alternative forms of transportation such as bus, electric, and bicycle. As well, we need to continue to lessen our overall consumption of fossil fuels and water. We will experience increasing forest fire risk, flooding, and drought, we need to adapt as best as possible with new rules and regulations to adjust to climate change.

Janice Kuester
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

Climate change is a Global concern. We must focus our efforts on dealing with Extreme weather patterns that we are experiencing (fire, floods, drought, freshet) and how we can best prepare our community when such extreme events occur. I think a focus on transportation alternatives- bike lanes, buses, electric cars, bikes ,reduced plastics, organic bins all can be done on a municipal level.

I believe we must continue to protect our salmon bearing streams, and most importantly focus on our water management of our water resource. I believe education and communication is the gateway to creating a plan to minimize and reduce our environmental impact . While we all need to do what we can do to mitigate the impacts of climate change, the fact is a global concern. As a councillor, I can demonstrate support by my my actions and encourage others to do the same.

Aleria Ladwig
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

Climate change will impact Gibsons in a variety of ways. Sea levels will rise, summers will get hotter and dryer (therefore increasing risks of forest fires and droughts) and rainfall will increase in the fall and winter months (resulting in greater runoff, soil degradation and storm water management issues).

Due to the complexity of the question asked, I think it is best to address it in two parts: One being on the actions I’d like to promote to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to support the climate change reduction agenda, and the other on the actions I propose to support to mitigate the impacts of climate change on our community.

Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Support the Climate Change Reduction Agenda

If on council, I would like to support Gibsons becoming a less fossil fuel-dependent community. To do this, I would support Gibsons in developing a Carbon Neutral Plan where actions to reduce and sequester CO2 emissions are strategically laid out through the inclusion of green technologies into bylaws and OCP DPAs (where appropriate – seaside character issues can arise but that’s for another discussion). For example, I think we should update our parking bylaw to reduce the number of mandatory parking stalls required for new developments (therefore encouraging the use of public transit and car share programs, and allowing greater residential density to help with the affordable housing crisis) and make it mandatory that all new developments have electric chargers installed in each parking stall they build. (An electric charger can be installed for approximately $1500.00 per stall, so although this is an additional cost to developers, it is not an unreasonable request considering the importance of climate change and the significance this new bylaw could make.) I believe that if the chargers were already there, people (over time) will be incentivised to buy an electric car as their next vehicle purchase. This is something that I think all municipalities should be doing!

Also, I would recommend that the Town replace their municipal vehicles with electric models when they are scheduled for replacement due to wear and tear. I realize that at this time, not all work vehicles such as pickup trucks are available as EVs, but hopefully this will change over time.

I would also recommend that the Town of Gibsons incorporate “NatureScaping” into our OCP. (NatureScaping helps to sequester CO2 emissions and retain rainfall.) We could encourage local residents to adopt this form of landscaping and incorporate greater flora into our road systems, developments and parks. (I.e. reduce asphalt / grass and increase flora). Franklin Road is a great example of where NatureScaping along the road easement has been helped organically by local residents. Shirley Macy Park has an excellent NatureScape edible / sensory play area for kids.

I would also like to see Gibsons conduct a Riparian Area Management Assessment to examine how effectively the Riparian Areas Regulations are being adhered to in our community. Healthy riparian areas are critical for a number of reasons but will become increasingly important in managing extreme rainfall events.

Actions to Mitigate the Impacts of Climate Change on our Community

To respond to the impacts of climate change, I’d like to see Gibsons implement the Foreshore and Seawalk Improvement project. I would also like to see Gibsons/SCRD develop an educational campaign and incentive program to encourage Sunshine Coast residents to install rain catchment solutions. And I’d also like to see the SCRD develop an emergency preparedness plan for forest fires.

Lorne Lewis
Candidate for SCRD Area E

It is easy to identify water and fire as the major climate change threats to the Sunshine Coast. We need to take a more sustainable approach to our water supply by building reservoir storage and by diversifying our sources of supply with more well sites. The Provincial Government has realized that it is necessary to remove fire burden (down and dead wood) from forests in the urban interface and have started programs to study how this can best be done.

Summer drought also impacts our food security so, in addition to finding potable water we also need to find a source of water that our farmers can use when necessary.

Stafford Lumley
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

Sometimes I see people misapplying the phrase “elephant in the room” to issues that the Town has had extensive public dialogue and debate over, such as the George, when the real elephant in the room both in its enormity, and by the fact we rarely talk about it as community, is climate change.

If we did have community discussions about climate change, I could see it having a unifying effect on some of the divisions that have formed in Gibsons. That is why I support our Council leading such public discussions that engage citizens’ knowledge and concerns, and that will hold especially the municipality but all households and businesses accountable. Some key ways climate change is affecting the Sunshine Coast are sea level rise in Gibsons, drought in our watersheds (which we are doing our best to address through better utilizing our aquifer water), and erosion from heavier rain and snowfalls.

The Town does address climate change in our OCP, and it’s time for the next Council to review these policies early in the term to ensure we’re following them. We are in the process of completing a Carbon Neutral Plan and have had a Community Energy and Emissions Plan for five years. This is a plan that requires monitoring and reporting and earlier this year we received a “Community Milestone #4” standing from the Community Energy Association for our progress.

This is all good work but we need to do a better job of bringing it to the forefront and engaging the community in it. In our last budget we installed electric vehicle charging stations and quietly purchased the first electric vehicles in our operations fleet—this switch-over is work we need to continue doing. Our Council also initiated and oversaw the Foreshore Seawalk Improvement Project, which emphasizes maintaining the ecological integrity of our foreshore while raising the seawalk to protect the Town and its infrastructure from sea-level rise. https://gibsons.ca/sustainability/foreshore-seawalk-improvement-project/

This investment in planning now puts us in the position to apply for federal funding to carry out these improvements and mitigations. There are multiple new federal grants that the next Council needs to be aware of and needs to apply for. Finally, due to concern over a couple of recent lot clearings by developers, we’re moving in a direction to draft a bylaw that protect sufficient trees and topsoil in these situations to retain water and avoid run-off.

As the only incumbent running again, I am in position to ensure that all this work is carried through. The new ideas and voices around the table are going to be great, but if they dismiss or drown out the progress that has already begun, we could be set back five to ten years; we may not be ready to apply for a grant again until next term. We don’t have this kind of time when it comes to climate change. And don’t get me wrong about new ideas and improvements: we need this too, which is why I also support more community engagement in this area.

Alice Lutes
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

Yes. Climate Change is a big issue for our seaside community, in my opinion as a municipal gov’t we need to continue to lobby and push other levels of gov’t to assist us in these issues. We need to look at ocean set backs for buildings to be increased, we need to lobby for assistance from the polluters to help pay the costs of mitigating the damages that are accruing from there products and businesses. We need to pass bylaws to ban the use of plastic bags and other forms of packaging use in our communities. Every little effort we can garner in our community will have an impact. Encourage green buildings, water collection devices, and a number of other building code changes.

Matt McLean
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

Climate change will manifest itself on the Sunshine Coast as more extreme weather and reduced ecological diversity. We will see more rainstorms in the winter, with more flooding, unstable slopes, and sea levels rising and breaching our beaches. In the summer we will see prolonged dry periods and more forest fires.

As your local government, it is our primary objective to adapt to these changes to ensure that our citizens remain safe now and into the future. We need to be proactive and anticipate the impacts of climate change and plan for them. We also need to ensure that we can provide critical services such as clean drinking water and sewer as the world around us changes.

I believe that the District of Sechelt should be a leader in reducing our impact on this world. We cannot expect businesses and investors to reduce their impact if we are not doing so first. We need to set the example of reducing our carbon emissions, promoting ecological diversity, and maintaining our environment.

Donna McMahon
Candidate for SCRD Area E

Last month the Secretary General of the UN called for all the world's governments to reign in "suicidal emissions." We must reach zero emissions as fast as possible, and that should be the SCRD's goal. The SCRD reports every year on its GHG emissions, but is not required to do anything about them. That's unacceptable. We need to set a zero target and figure out how to get there.

Area E will be affected by all kinds of climate change issues (many of them identified in answers submitted by other candidates), but the ones I hear raised most often by Area E residents are water supply, stormwater, and growth. Water: we need to increase our storage and diversify our sources so we are more resilient, as well as investigate ways to make more efficient use of water during increasingly severe summer droughts. Stormwater: we already have serious issues with drainage and erosion, and more severe rainfall events will only make this worse. The 2009 Delcan Stormwater report studied areas of concern in Areas D, E and F and made recommendations but no regulations were put in place. It's probably time to review this and urge MOTI to improve its drainage practices. Growth: we can't pull up the drawbridge, but we CAN manage growth by identifying areas that are suitable for more development or higher density. A regional growth strategy for the Sunshine Coast is long overdue and it must take into account the effects of climate change. We can also improve building practices so that new buildings are vastly more energy and water efficient.

Bruce Milne
Candidate for Sechelt Mayor

The immediate impacts of climate change on the Sunshine Coast are the drought related water shortages and the forest fire of 2015 Wormy Lake fire. The unique factor in the 2015 fire was that it trended downslope towards the water into areas that typically retain sufficient moisture to resist fire.
Drought conditions impact our ability to grow foods – both supplemental food crops in back yards and community gardens and for farms.

The longer-term impacts of climate change will include significant sea level rise and irreparable damage to our coastal infrastructure and more frequent catastrophic weather events – powerful storms, heavy rains and flash flooding and high temperature heat waves. We have had glimpses of these weather events over the past two years.

Local governments can, and must, respond on a number of levels.
First, we must factor climate change into our infrastructure and asset management plans. Everything we build, repair or maintain needs to take into account the conditions of immediate climate change.
Second, within our own facilities and assets local governments can shift towards more renewable and sustainable practices – less fossil fuel more renewable energy, sustainable choices on inventory, etc..
Third, local government can encourage and in some cases mandate that new buildings and construction and new infrastructure for developments incorporate sustainable practices.
Fourth, local governments can take an important role in education and awareness regarding issues of climate change.
Fifth, local governments must take a strong advocacy role for their communities with regards to climate change

Hans Penner
Candidate for SCRD Area D

Without doubt, climate change or more specifically, global warming, is affecting the Sunshine Coast. The most noticeable impact has been the water shortages, caused by the severe summer droughts we have experienced in the last four years. The drought of 2015 was described in a consultant’s report to the SCRD as a 1 in a 100-year event. We have had two more similar dry summers since. The reality is dryer summers are now the norm not the exception. We need to recognize that we share the natural life support system with all the other plants and animals, who have also suffered from the drought, that make up the bio-diversity on the coast. As a matter of policy, we should not pursue projects strictly for our benefit at the expense and harm to others in the community of life. On the contrary we need to take the initiative to protect and enhance natural systems such as intact forests and streams and do what we can to convert to clean energy instead of burning fossil fuels, the primary cause of global warming.

Lennea Perpet
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

Climate change will inevitably affect our fisheries and marine species. It will also impact natural vegetation and the manner in which we utilize our environment for outdoor recreation to name a few big ones.

As far as actions go, the first key to any plan working is the strength and willingness of the entire team, in this case District of Sechelt, and ultimately the Sunshine Coast as a whole. Bylaws or statutes are only as strong as the enforcement that accompanies them. This enforcement can be as simple as educating people to be more diligent in following the enactments or it may have to be more strictly enforced. I would do my best to encourage as much dialogue is necessary to involve the community in preserving, and even enhancing this beautiful area.

Mike Price
Candidate for SCRD Area A

The first question’s preamble seems to set the tone of all your question themes. All the impacts of Climate Change you mention are major ones and well beyond anything a local municipality can have influence over or deal with. They fall under the provincial and federal jurisdictions. The SCRD can at best prepare itself to react through Emergency Preparedness Plans.

So, in my opinion the Coast will be faced with isolation due to fire, flood or earthquake impacts. The current SCRD Emergency Plan is woefully inadequate in that regard and the Emergency Planner has left the employ of the municipality. Therefore, I would press for a Risk Management Assessment of the possible hazards and then identify risk mitigation measures. Plus getting a new full time Emergency Planner.

Brenda Rowe
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

Climate change has resulted in less rainfall and snowpack meaning we are experiencing more frequent periods of drought. There is no reason to believe that this trend will reverse itself. We need to look at initiatives that work towards balancing supply and demand as it pertains to water.

Increase storm surges and rising sea levels pose a threat to waterfront properties as well as our only highway along Davis Bay. As we move to update the OCP we need to include any scientifically based changes as they pertain to setbacks, future development areas, etc. to ensure that properties are protected. Where possible, we need to consider how the decisions we make today will play out 20, 30, 50 and even 100 years down the road.

Although our landfill is managed by the SCRD, we have a crisis glaring at us as it reaches its life expectancy within the next 7 years. We need to find solutions to manage and reduce our waste well before the end of the life expectancy arrives.

As a municipality needs to lead by example utilizing green principles wherever possible within our own infrastructure, as well as supporting reduction in initiatives such as single use plastic items.

As well, the Sunshine Coast needs to support a robust Emergency Preparedness Plan.

Suzanne Senger
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

Global Climate Change is the most significant threat facing humanity. Locally we are already seeing impacts of drastic weather changes with sea level rise and shoreline erosion; diminishing drinking water supply and smoke filled skies in the summer time. If we are going to curb the threats to our ability to survive on this planet, we need to take immediate action. Recognizing the limits to what local government can do, I have committed in my campaign platform, to undertake two key steps to address climate change, as a councillor in Gibsons.

I will spearhead a comprehensive Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Town of Gibsons. An adaptation plan would build on existing town work re: eco-asset management, foreshore planning, aquifer mapping and sea level rise research. It would consider likely impacts and scenarios to deal with infrastructure located on the foreshore which will be impacted by sea level rise and flooding. The plan will need to consider protection of the Gibsons Aquifer recharge area, naturalization vs hardscaping of the foreshore in the town of Gibsons as well as the real costs of adaptation. This gives rise to the question of climate accountability and my second commitment. I have read, discussed and considered the Climate Accountability measures proposed by West Coast Environmental Law in its brief “Climate Law in our hands – A resource for Local Government Candidates BC Municipal Election 2018.” In my view, WCEL has defined an innovative strategy, which could bring local governments across BC together to recover a fair share of costs to address impacts of climate change on local infrastructure from fossil fuel companies - so taxpayers don’t bare these rising costs over the long term. I have worked with West Coast Environmental Law for many years on a number of legal strategies to protect the environment. I support WCEL’s strategy and I am committed to championing this with Gibsons Council and advocating for the town’s participation in it.

Darnelda Siegers
Candidate for Sechelt Mayor

Some of the ways in which climate change is showing up on the Sunshine Coast are through longer drier summers and heavier rain events. The drier summers are causing water storage supply issues, drying out the vegetation, stressing trees, impacting food supply and security and creating perfect conditions for damage from large scale forest fires. We also need to be cognizant of higher tides from ocean levels rising.

In the District of Sechelt, we are in the process of updating our Subdivision and Development Control Bylaw. This document is outdated and not particularly applicable to our municipal geography. It was brought to our municipality from a lower mainland community where the land is flat. Once the new document is drafted, community input will be sought. This new draft will look to address and incorporate practises that our engineering and planning departments are already requesting, like onsite stormwater management, but that are not included in the document for developers. The District is also considering updating the Official Community Plan and, at that time, can revisit the requirements under Development Permit Areas (DPA’s) to ensure they address the impacts of climate change in our municipality. In particular, DPA’s 2 – 5, which address watercourses (and riparian areas around creeks and streams), marine, foreshore, and shoreline areas, beach escarpment, rockfall and upland slope hazards, and steep slopes, will be reviewed with a view to incorporate best practises for addressing climate change impacts.

We need to make some decisions with regards to long term water supply issues. This is on my agenda to deal with immediately once elected. Residents are naturally concerned about the impact on their property and the area should we continue to have Stage 4 water restrictions. This not only causes them to lose valuable landscaping but sets our community up for the potential for large scale forest fire damage should a fire start. The Community Forest is considering bringing in a speaker to address the community on how to clear around our homes to that, should a forest fire start on the Sunshine Coast, we have prepared our residences to hopefully escape damage from that fire.
We must prepare on many fronts for the impact of climate change on Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast

Andreas Tize
Candidate for SCRD Area D

That is a big question. Here are a few bullet points:

  • I worry about the low-bank waterfront properties in Roberts Creek due to rising sea levels and I think a monitoring and possible amendment of the minimum level above the high tide line for future developments may be needed.
  • Resilience to wildfire is currently very low in Roberts Creek. We have an opportunity to spread out our future reservoirs along the top of the settlement area in the SCRD to be of use as water sources in case of fire.
  • We seem to be getting longer, drier summers as a result of climate change. A big part of my next four years will be tackling the water challenge to make the Coast more resilient and have more water available. I posted a very long article on my website, andreastize.com
  • Protecting Salmon-bearing streams and waterways in general should continue to be a priority when looking at future development.
  • Ensuring a healthy ecosystem in the forests above the SCRD will improve our resilience to wildfires and ensure good quality of life.

I have also created a blog post regarding reducing our carbon footprint on my campaign website, but here is a copy of it: Roberts Creek is generally a community where we need a car to get around. Buses are an option, but service is only along the two arteries and their frequency is not great. We also live on the side of a mountain, which means unless you're walking/biking/driving parallel to the shoreline, you are either going up or down a hill, which can be a sweaty affair! But there are solutions! For those active types, and for those two arteries that are generally fairly flat, we should continue our efforts to widen the shoulders and create bike paths. With the advent of e-bikes, hills have become less onerous. Electric cars are becoming more and more affordable. We have an opportunity to become a very bike-friendly community here, and while we're doing that, with the proper signage we can create more of a draw for tourism. I dream of a Sunshine Coast where Langdale to Egmont is connected by one continuous, safe bike route with Brew Pubs, Cideries and B&B's creating great places to sit, eat and sleep.

Alton Toth
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

I feel that we’re already seeing the effects of climate change; reduced summer rains, longer hotter summers, less predictable winters. I think that what Sechelt tried to accomplish at UBCM of attempting to get resolution to write to the main polluters to hold them accountable is commendable. We need to continue that work. I’m 32 years old. While climate change and rising sea levels probably will affect me for the remainder of my life to some extent, my daughter is nine years old. Climate change has the potential to devastate communities, both at the Coastal level because of rising sea levels, but also in-land, due to reduced water, hotter summers, pine beetle, and more wildfires, among other concerns.

As for actionable items beyond letter writing, I’m not sure that local government has a lot of options. We can work to make sure that our community continues to push for action at provincial and federal levels. We can adopt concepts like the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, which I was recently asked to join the steering committee for, to ensure that future development is done in a manner that is of minimal social, economic, and environmental impact.

Doug Wright
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

Global climate change - this topic is immense in size. So I will try to localize the issues and keep the issues to the parts we can control as a Municipality. We have already seen 3 drought type summers on the Coast in the last 4 years, that has affected our water supply. We are seeing rising ocean levels. We are seeing excessive use of plastics and other non compostable products. We are seeing compostable products added to the landfill. While not an exhaustive list these are some of the areas that as a Municipality we need to look at and provide a solution for our community. The solutions are varied, we need the will to implement them.

Scroll to Top