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May 16, 2023, 4:20 pm

Cranbrook Continues Efforts to be Regional Leader in Climate Change Initiatives and Environmental Stewardship

City of Cranbrook
CRANBROOK - The City of Cranbrook is striving to be a regional leader in climate change initiatives and environmental stewardship by continuing to adapt and innovate across the organization.

Since 2021, the City has undertaken numerous projects to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. After the City acquired its first electric vehicle in May 2021, Council adopted the Community Climate Action Plan later that September, with a focus on reducing GHG emissions. The plan is helping guide the City’s decision-making to:
  • influence development of low carbon homes and building
  • implement zero-emission and low-carbon transportation
  • encourage active and accessible transportation
  • reinforce and strengthen waste diversion practices
  • inspire community action by being the municipal leader

“The Community Climate Action Plan was an important step for the City to demonstrate its leadership in Environmental Stewardship,” says Evan Berry, Acting Project Manager with the City of Cranbrook. “Being a leader was one of the important items identified in that plan, so developing the Corporate Climate Action Plan was the next priority.”

The Community Climate Action Plan guides programs for reducing community GHG emissions, while the Corporate Climate Action Plan is the plan to reduce the City’s GHG emissions as a corporation. Prior to adoption of the Corporate Climate Action Plan, significant HVAC and Heat Pump upgrades were made at Canadian Rockies International Airport in December 2021. It was the second major heat pump project in the City, following in the footsteps of Western Financial Place’s Heat Pump project in 2017. The airport improvements are eliminating 86 tons of CO2 emissions and reducing consumption of 1,740 GJ of natural gas every year.

The Corporate Climate Action Plan was then adopted by Council in February 2022. Taking a leadership approach, the scope of the plan is to reduce all GHG emissions that the City directly controls, moving towards:
  • low carbon City-owned facilities
  • a low carbon City-owned fleet
  • bolstering waste diversion practices
  • adapting to a changing climate
  • strengthening staff engagement and policy

In July of 2022, the City was awarded Milestone 3 of the Partner’s in Climate Protection Program by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for developing and adopting the corporate and community climate action plans. Work has continued, as the City is now working to implement those plans and achieve the next milestone of the FCM program.

In 2022, the City took another positive step forward with the development of a community-based climate change outreach program. Started in April 2022, the program had a focus to reduce GHG emissions within the community by collaborating with influential community partners such as the East Kootenay Climate Hub, Columbia Outdoor School, Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network, Rocky Mountain Naturalists, and Wildsight Kimberley/Cranbrook.

Currently, the City has several ongoing projects that began in 2022 or will be completed in 2023, including new heat pumps at the Cranbrook Senior’s Centre, heat pumps as part of the City Hall Council Chambers renovation, and the procurement of an electric work van for Public Works.

“While the City is proud to celebrate these past accomplishments, there is a renewed focus of Council to protect our natural environment and continue efforts to reduce Cranbrook’s overall carbon footprint,” says Mayor Wayne Price.

Council’s newly approved Strategic Plan for 2024 to 2027 includes the goal of continuing to explore ways to reduce Cranbrook’s overall carbon footprint. With a recharged focus from Council regarding environmental stewardship, the City has several upcoming projects and plans that will compliment Council’s vision. The City has plans in 2023 and 2024 to develop two more detailed implementation plans and carry forward with four important GHG emission-reduction projects.

An upcoming Community Buildings GHG Reduction Study will provide a professional evaluation of all City-owned facilities that will inform capital improvements, HVAC replacements, and other electrical and energy retrofits. As well, a Fleet Policy and Vehicle Electrification Plan will inform future vehicle purchasing and plan charging stations and electrical services for City buildings based on future electric vehicle demands.

One of the four projects on the City’s horizon is an informative pilot project at the Spray Irrigation shop. Replacing propane heaters with electric infrared heaters, the project will serve as a guide for future space heater replacements in City-owned buildings. As well, a heat pump will soon be installed at BGC Cranbrook (Boys and Girls Club of Cranbrook), located in the Kinsmen Arena building. The City will also be installing EV charging stations at Public Works to enable consideration of heavy-duty electric vehicles and future electric vehicle purchases. The last major project highlight is the Western Financial Place Arena Dehumidification. The dehumidification in the HVAC system will not only improve spectator comfort, but also eliminate an estimated 40 tons of annual CO2 emissions and reduce consumption of approximately 731 GJ of natural gas every year.

With these upcoming projects in 2023 and beyond, the City is dedicated to finding other unique and innovate avenues to be a leader in environmental stewardship and climate change initiatives within the East Kootenay.

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