The City of Burnaby is launching a new initiative to help fight climate change.
The city has partnered with the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and Vancity to launch an innovative project named the Urban Resilient Futures Initiative.
The goal is to overcome barriers to climate action by involving the community to create shared visions while also creating a set of priorities that helps accelerate Burnaby's course toward a zero-carbon future.
The initiative has a timeline of three years and is based on four key elements.
- Zero-Emission Building Retrofit Task Force – Buildings account for approximately 50% of carbon emissions in Burnaby. The task force will bring together commercial and industrial property owners, government representatives, technical experts and local homeowners to develop quick starts and recommendations for the City’s Zero-Emission Building Retrofit Strategy. The task force is expected to deliver recommendations in early 2022
- Neighbourhood Climate Action Projects and Awareness Campaign –This will involve fostering neighbourhood-level climate action projects, led by local groups and facilitated through partnership with schools, religious institutions, libraries and services clubs. Community pilot projects are expected to begin in 2022
- Citizens’ Assembly - An independent group of Burnaby residents will gather and make recommendations on the City’s upcoming update to the Official Community Plan (OCP). This assembly will be representative of the city’s diverse population, with members selected through a civic lottery process. The assembly is expected to deliver feedback on the OCP in late 2023
- Participatory Governance – Throughout the Urban Resilient Futures Initiative, the aim will be to engage with underrepresented people, including First Nations, and pioneer new systems and processes to create more equity in community discussion. Findings will be delivered to the City in the form of a report to council at the conclusion of the program
"We’re at a point in our history when we all need to pull together,” Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley said.
“This is about tapping into the energy and passion of our community for positive action, and also about making sure that we hear everyone’s voice as we develop neighbourhood-level solutions to climate change.”
The initiative will have a similar process as the Mayor's Task Force on Community housing which started in 2019.
“Burnaby residents are increasingly confronting the impacts of climate change in their daily lives and have a critical role to play in co-creating solutions,” Program Director, Simon Fraser University's Morris J. Work Centre for Dialogue Robin Prestadded.
“The City of Burnaby is a leader in democratic engagement, and we are very pleased to partner with Burnaby and Vancity to find new pathways forward that reduce emissions and protect vulnerable populations.”
The city says when finished, the Urban Resilient Futures model will help educate other municipal governments across Canada on how to engage and motivate its residents to take on a role in fighting climate change.
The initiative will be funded by a $350,000 seed grant from the Aqueduct Foundation.
Cash and in-kind contributions from project partners will also assist.
The city says the initiative should start this fall and finish in the spring of 2024.