After completing its work to establish priorities for climate action in the Regional District of Nanaimo, the climate action technical advisory committee (CATAC) now has a renewed role.
CATAC met for two years starting in February 2020 to recommend immediate actions related to climate change that the regional district should focus on. Three priorities – water supply resilience including through natural asset management, updating RDN policies and bylaws to remove barriers to climate mitigation and adaptation and increasing support for home energy and adaptation retrofits – were approved by the board in November 2021 and given initial funding in the 2022 budget.
The committee that developed a list of recommended priorities was comprised of professional experts in relevant fields and RDN directors, including Electoral Area B Director Vanessa Craig. Going forward it will pivot to providing a third party technical review of annual reports and proposed work plans for the priorities.
The revamped committee will meet from January 2023 to December 2028 and will include up to three RDN directors and seven technical experts in fields such as agriculture, asset management, climate science, construction or urban development, environmental education and justice, forestry, transportation, waste and watershed management. The new terms of reference also stipulate at least one expert should be an early career professional, that is, someone with between two and five years of experience in their field. In the previous iteration of CATAC, technical experts received remuneration; under the new terms of reference they will not.
At its May 24 meeting, the RDN board also approved a monitoring and reporting structure for climate action priority work. It will include annual tracking and reporting of community emissions in the areas of transportation, waste, industry, land use and built environment and will be posted on the RDN’s website.
“While community emissions are not exclusively controlled by the regional district, there is no other entity that will provide that reporting for RDN residents, many of whom are concerned about climate action in our area,” a staff-written backgrounder on the reporting structure says.
An annual climate action report card will note progress on the board-approved priorities. A more comprehensive three-year review will analyze CATAC recommendations and establish new three-year work plans to continue work on existing or new priorities.
Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/Gabriola Sounder/The Canadian Press