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Squamish council urges further action to combat 'climate emergency'

Lower Mainland Local Government Association resolution urges provincial and federal governments to ramp up response to climate change

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As Squamish endures its first significant wildfire of the year, council is planning to put forth a resolution to tackle climate change at the Lower Mainland Local Government Association.

Coun. Chris Pettingill put forth the motion that urges Lower Mainland communities to ramp up action in response to the "climate emergency."

The resolution, which incorporates feedback from some municipal politicians throughout B.C, asks the province and the federal government to "recognize the climate change emergency and accelerate their efforts to fight climate change."

It also urges the province to establish a carbon budget for all public and private sector emissions in accordance with limiting global warming to 1.5 C.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report from the United Nations predicts wide-ranging, negative impacts resulting from a 1.5 C increase in global temperatures.

But while the recent wildfire made this proposed resolution the most salient, it was by no means the only one put forth.

Council also voted in favour of bringing several other resolutions to the table at the LMLGA.

Coun. Jenna Stoner crafted a resolution that would create sustainable funding for the B.C. Search and Rescue Association.

Search and rescue organizations have brought up concerns about lacking consistent long-term access to resources.

At the moment, search and rescue funding, some advocates say, is given out in a "stopgap" manner.

Coun. Eric Andersen spearheaded a proposed motion that would ask BCR Properties to dispose of its land "with consideration to local government land needs."

This would include infrastructure, environment, recreation and economic development, among other things.

BCR Properties, is a former department of BC Rail controlled by the provincial Ministry of Transportation.

The organization was a division of BC Rail that was given the mandate to sell its properties in 2004, which it has been doing since then.

Coun. John French, with help from Coun. Armand Hurford, put forth a motion asking the provincial government to exempt electric bicycles from the provincial sales tax.

Bikes and trikes are already PST-exempt because the provincial government wants to encourage healthy, environmentally-friendly transportation, so the motion states that the same exemption should apply to e-bikes because they accomplish those goals as well.

Hurford came up with the idea but recused himself because he owns Republic Bicycles, which could benefit from such a motion.

As a result, French took up this initiative.

The hope is that all of these resolutions will be recognized by the Lower Mainland Local Government Association conference in May.

Eventually, they'd then work their way up to be recognized by the Union of BC Municipalities. If they pass at that event, they'd have the highest chance of being recognized by the province.

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