Commissioner Guest Blog: Addressing the connection between climate resilience and economic capacity building.
CEDC COMMISSIONER HOLLY MACDONALD LOOKS AT WAYS ECONOMIC GROWTH CAN ALIGN WITH CLIMATE INITIATIVES …
In order to be clearer about the connection between climate resilience and economic capacity building, the Commission has identified the components we believe demonstrate how our approach to economic growth is in alignment with climate initiatives.
Funding economic capacity-building initiatives contributes to climate action.
There’s a lot of economic opportunity in retrofitting the existing infrastructure to a climate-resilient one. The CRD manages most of the public infrastructure, however, there are many privately owned buildings (or owned by other public entities – Island Health, SD 64, BC Ferries, etc.) as well. Roofing, water storage/systems, paving, landscaping, etc. Working with the business community, we’d like to encourage the expansion of green building practices (for new builds and renovation), shared purchasing discounts on climate-friendly infrastructure, education, and support for different sectors. We can also see the potential to support climate change readiness practices through audits, toolkits, etc.
The world needs innovative solutions to tackle the climate crisis. There’s economic opportunity in participation on this. Our vision was to position Salt Spring as a place where innovators could test their products, working with organizations and institutions to be a rural testing ground. We’d also like local innovators to have a virtual and physical place to demonstrate innovations and provide ways for them to connect to a larger market (Green Learning Lab). We want the green economy on Salt Spring to be vibrant.
By investing in local businesses, who serve a local population, we can help people who live here develop a livelihood and circulate money on the island. We can also reduce single-vehicle off-island shopping by being more coordinated about delivery and encouraging greater connectivity with businesses that have a physical presence on the island. Shared spaces, pop-up shops, “fulfillment centers” and other ways to practically help goods come on and off the island.
Shared marketplaces, buying groups, shipping groups, and other ways to encourage enterprises to work cooperatively. Our shared business services initiative is an example of this.
Preserving Natural Assets
There is (counterintuitively) economic opportunity in preserving natural assets, such as forests and water preservation.
We’ve long been advocating for a longer, gentler tourism season that can reduce the frenzy of summer visitors and encourage visitors to join us at other times of the year. We’ve also strongly encouraged the type of tourism that contributes to the community, not detracts. We’d like to see a greater emphasis on visitors who come here on foot, bikes or other low-carbon transportation. This might mean advocating for greater public transit or encouraging private electric shuttles.
We strongly believe that there needs to be ongoing stakeholder engagement with industry to learn about their challenges and gain insights to enable the CEDC to be more informed about what’s important to them, but also to tap into their innovative ideas. Business can be a force for good, but there’s an assumption that they are going to resist climate initiatives. Let’s engage our business community!