Community Papers

Saanich annual report shows green advances, carbon reduction

An uptick in cycling collisions and strong strides made in carbon reduction are a few of the highlights of a 2013 annual report approved by council Monday.

The report serves as an overarching document to give council a clear sense of whether or not Saanich’s 1,500 staff are meeting municipal targets governed by the Official Community Plan.

“This is the 10th year we’ve done this and it’s simply part of the culture of how we now operate,” said Mayor Frank Leonard.

Highlights of the report include an 18 per cent reduction in Saanich’s carbon footprint since 2007, a gain made by introducing several electric vehicles to the municipal fleet and “right-sizing” vehicles when needed, said Coun. Nichola Wade.

“We’ve also implemented heating, lighting and cooling improvements that have gone into our municipal buildings,” she said.

Leonard said the report has only “a couple of red lights” amongst mostly accomplished targets, but the accountability to improve on infrastructure such as cycling lanes, and sidewalks, as well as housing is still key.

Some advancements have been made in housing affordability, he said.

But there are still more than 1,500 people on B.C. Housing’s affordable housing wait list in the Capital Region.

“Housing affordability shows us we need to keep working on that front as well,” he said.

Wade said the report also highlighted 61 collisions involving cyclists in Saanich last year, which was higher than the community’s anticipated collisions of 54 or less.

But she said the numbers may also indicate a positive shift to higher ridership.

“It’s tragic, but I also think that means more people are cycling. Now we have to focus on protecting and them and getting bike lanes online,” Wade said.

View the annual report at saanich.ca under the June 23 council agenda.

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