Kootenay regional districts have been recognized with a sustainability award from the FCM. (Submitted photo)

Regional districts earn Canadian sustainability award

Accelerate Kootenays program earns Kootenay Regional Districts Canadian municipalities honour

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) honoured the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) as a co-recipient of the 2020 Sustainable Communities Award.

The RDKB along with the Regional Districts of East Kootenay and Central Kootenay were selected for the award due to their exceptional work in the Visionary Award category for Accelerate Kootenays. The award honours and celebrates the most innovative environmental initiatives in cities and communities across Canada.

“On behalf of our board of directors and our staff I want to thank the Federation for recognizing the RDKB for Accelerate Kootenays,” said Diane Langman, chair of the RDKB board. “It is a real honour and shows that a small regional government can take the most meaningful action to reduce our carbon footprint when we work in tandem with our provincial and federal partners as well as industry, utilities and regional organizations. Way to go team!”

Accelerate Kootenays is Canada’s first community-driven, collaborative strategy to build a clean transportation network.

The two-year, $1.5 million initiative received support from Columbia Basin Trust, the FCM, Teck, the Province of BC, FortisBC, BC Hydro, and Powertech Labs.

The project is creating an electric vehicle (EV) charging station network so EV travel to and within southeastern BC is convenient and reliable.

Electric vehicle chargers have been installed as part of the project in the RDKB in Rock Creek, Midway, Greenwood, Grand Forks, Christina Lake, Rossland, Montrose, and Fruitvale, with many more chargers available in Trail and across neighbouring regional districts.

“Local solutions—scaled up—deliver major national impact, like economic growth and the emission reductions Canada needs to meet its climate change goals,” said Bill Karsten, President of the FCM. “Whether it is through improved energy efficiency, fewer greenhouse gas emissions or stronger local infrastructure, local governments get the job done efficiently and cost-effectively because they connect solutions to local needs and local realities.

“This year’s FCM Sustainable Communities Award winners embody those principles of sustainability and collaboration. Moreover, they exemplify how municipal innovation can have concrete impacts and deliver for Canadians.”

The RDKB is one of 11 municipalities from across the country chosen by the FCM for their outstanding efforts in one of nine categories: asset management, brownfields, climate change, energy, neighbourhoods, transportation, waste, water and a new category in honour of the Green Municipal Fund’s 20th anniversary.

Winners will each deliver a live, TED-talk-style presentation on their projects at FCM’s virtual Sustainable Communities Conference – held on October 20-22. Recipients in each category are also eligible for the Inspire Award, given to the most creative and innovative project following the conference.

The Sustainable Communities Awards is an initiative of FCM’s Green Municipal Fund, a $1 billion program, delivered through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and funded by the Government of Canada.

Kootenay Boundary Regional District

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