Cheryl Wiens, Isaac Beevor, and Marilyn Fischer were outside Township hall advocating for a carbon budget in advance of a council vote on Monday, Nov. 18. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Carbon budget closer to reality in Langley Township

The council will consider a range of measures early next year

Langley Township council will vote next year on ambitious targets to slash the community’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years.

The council debated a carbon budget and a CO2 reduction plan at a Council Priorities Committee (CPC) meeting on Monday afternoon.

While the matter was referred for additional reports from staff, it is expected to come back to council early in 2020 for a vote on the targets and for specific actions.

Councillor Petrina Arnason has been pushing the council to adopt a carbon budget for the whole community, with an aim of reducing the Township’s overall CO2 emissions and slowing climate change.

A motion by Coun. Kim Richter asked that council adopt targets of reducing the Township’s overall CO2 emissions by 45 per cent below 2007 levels by 2030, and to zero by 2050.

That would include emissions from vehicles, industry, and agriculture.

After today’s meeting, Township staff are expected to put forward more specific plans for climate action, which will be voted on in the future, most likely through the annual budget process.

A small group of Green Party members and environmentalists were outside the Township hall at noon on Monday with signs encouraging the councillors to take action.

“The Township has been really good at addressing their own emissions,” noted Cheryl Wiens of the Greens.

They’ve been adding electric vehicles to their civic fleet, using LEEDs design standards in their buildings, and have built electric car charging stations at multiple civic centres.

But the goal of a carbon budget is to target community emissions, Wiens said.

At the evening meeting, the council also unanimously agreed to begin creating a biodiversity strategy for the Township.

“It’s about the wildlife we find here, the streams and the aquatic creatures,” said Arnason.

The Township already has more biodiversity than many other more urbanized Metro Vancouver communities, according to a regional study.

But Christy Juteau of the Little Campbell Watershed Society noted that studies have shown that forest cover in the area is being lost.

A study of the Little Campbell River watershed showed that about 25 per cent of the areas forests were lost between the 1950s and the present day.

The watershed runs from South Langley into South Surrey.

She encouraged the council to adopt a biodiversity strategy, noting that Metro Vancouver already has similar strategies, as do communities including Surrey, Vancouver, and communities in the Okanagan.

Juteau also praised some existing Township strategies, including rain gardens being used for drainage instead of traditional ditches or culverts.

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