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SLRD strikes Energy Resilience Task Force

Whistler Centre for Sustainability under contract to assist



Canada's first regional task force tackling energy resilience is ready to take shape in the Sea to Sky corridor.

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) announced last week that it has struck an Energy Resilience Task Force as just one component of its Climate and Energy Planning Process, a strategy aimed at reducing greenhouse gases and building "regional resilience" in the face of phenomena such as climate change and peak oil.

"The SLRD is a signatory to the B.C. Climate Action Charter and is therefore committed to addressing climate change," Paul Edgington, Chief Administrative Officer of the SLRD, announced in an e-mail.

"By addressing energy as it is used within the SLRD, the SLRD can address both climate change and energy resilience."

The task force's central job is to collect data and information with respect to peak oil and natural gas production, as well as related social implications. Its central aim is to develop recommendations for the SLRD board in 2010 on strategies that the district can take to deal with the impacts of declining energy supplies.

Kim Needham, a planner with the SLRD, will head the task force, made up of 21 Sea to Sky residents.

Other members of the task force include Jennie Helmer, an investment advisor and farmer at Helmer's Organic Farm; Roxy Kuurne, owner of Kuurne Farms in the Pemberton Meadows; Naomi Devine, a sustainability coordinator with the Resort Municipality of Whistler; and Bob Deeks, a developer with RDC Fine Homes and president of the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Home Building Association.

Asked why he was selected for the task force, Deeks said it was likely because he's long had an affiliation with construction of "net zero" homes, meaning homes that produce as much energy as they use.

"I'm glad to be part of it because I've been involved at the provincial level on very similar things," he said in an interview. "I was part of a task force over the last three months that was trying to identify how to move the building code from EnerGuide 77 to EnerGuide 80, so I'm up to speed on where the provincial government is going with that.

"Of course their goal is net zero carbon by 2020, which would essentially mean that they want all new buildings to be built net zero ready or net zero."

Edgington went on to say in his e-mail that recommendations from the Energy Resilience Task Force will be "actionable" by the SLRD; that efforts will be made to refer to the work of other task forces in places such as San Francisco, Portland and Berkeley.

The task force will aim to focus on impacts on the environment, equity and the economy, as well as assume an "inclusive approach" that does not limit options.

The Whistler Centre for Sustainability will assist the SLRD in coordinating meetings of the task force as well as summarizing the force's findings, coordinate public meetings around those findings and help write its final report to the SLRD board.

The Whistler Centre for Sustainability is being paid $10,000 to assist with the task force's work.


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