The municipality of Summerland is being nationally recognized as Earth Day Canada’s spokesperson for 2023 to mobilize municipalities across the country to take part in the annual Earth Day campaign.
Summerland was selected among 254 municipalities for its sustainability initiatives and concerted commitment to make positive impacts for the environment.
The City of Montreal served as the first representative in 2020, followed by Mississauga, Ont., in 2021 and Moncton, New Brunswick last year.
Earth Day, held each year on April 22, has been celebrated in Summerland since 2006.
In collaboration with the Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society, the community comes together each year to plant native trees and shrubs in place of invasive species.
In 2010, Summerland’s Earth Day was expanded to Earth Week with week-long events that connect the community to the local environment and to advocate for climate action.
As spokesperson for the Mobilizing Municipalities Campaign, Mayor Doug Holmes is encouraging mayors in other Canadian municipalities to join the Earth Day network and commit to ongoing sustainability, environmental and climate action.
“Summerland is renowned for its natural beauty but we’re also on the frontline of climate change. In recent years, we have faced wildfires, floods, drought, heat domes, atmospheric rivers – you name it,” Holmes said. “Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more intense.”
In 2017 and 2018, extreme flooding caused damage to the Summerland lakefront, creeks, hiking trails and some orchards in the community. Summerland was also affected by smoke during intense wildfire seasons in 2017, 2018 and 2021. The heat dome of 2021 also affected farmers, orchardists and wineries in the community.
“We have no choice but to take climate action and adapt. Summerland has celebrated Earth Day since 2006 and ‘Earth Week’ since 2010. Now we need to celebrate Earth Day every day,” Holmes said.
Summerland signed the B.C. Climate Action Charter in 2009 and every council since then has made it a priority to consider climate change in its infrastructure projects, budget allocations, and Community and Corporate Energy Emission Plans. Some municipal initiatives include:
• Working towards converting the municipal fleet and equipment to all-electric options.
• Installing rooftop solar panels on Municipal Hall, Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre and the
George Ryga Arts and Cultural Centre.
• Encouraging residents to install solar panels by buying their excess energy and putting it onto
• Installing 26 electrical vehicle charging stations around Summerland.
• Building a solar and battery storage facility to generate and store some of our own clean electricity.
• Developing a Community and Corporate Energy and Emissions Plan.
This year’s Earth Week takes place April 17 to 23, with an Earth Day Fair on April 22, planting event on April 23, and other activities throughout the week. Details will be shared closer to the date on www.summerland.ca/earthweek.
Visit https://earthday.ca/april-22/campaign/mobilizing-municipalities/ to see full details of Summerland in the Earth Day Canada’s 2023 Mobilizing Municipalities Campaign.
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