Sustainable City

Sustainable City

All narrative, goals and actions in this section come directly from the City’s Climate Leadership Plan. Please download the whole plan here

In Victoria, we don’t yet feel the negative impacts of climate change. We haven’t, for example, had to pack up our whole village and move because of sea level rise. As a result we are complacent and not on track to meet our goal of reducing GHGs 80% by 2050; at the rate we are going we will only decrease our emissions by 32% by 2050. Next term, with the community, we will implement the City’s Climate Leadership Plan and take courageous action on buildings, transportation, and waste to create low-carbon prosperity.

We need to:

  1. Develop strong policies and incentives for low-carbon high-performance buildings – both new and retrofits
  2. Develop and prioritize low-carbon modes of transportation
  3. Manage waste more sustainably
  4. Lead and inspire with low-carbon, sustainable municipal operations
  5. Resilience in the Face of Climate Change

What We’ve Accomplished, 2014-2018

  • Committed to two ambitious targets at the community’s request: reaching 100% power from renewable energy sources and reducing GHGs 80% from 2007 levels by 2050
  • Began to build an all ages and abilities bike network
  • Continued action on waste reduction with a ban on single-use plastic bags
  • Adopted an accelerated BC Energy Step Code for new buildings
  • Developed incentives for energy retrofits on existing buildings
  • Launched the construction of a new sewage treatment plant after many years of talk
  • Developed a Climate Leadership Plan to achieve low-carbon prosperity
  • Created the city’s first Parks and Open Spaces Masterplan to protect our natural assets

Sustainable City Step 1: Develop strong policies and incentives to create low-carbon high-performance buildings – both new and retrofits

By 2050, Victoria will be home to efficient, renewably powered, high-performance buildings. Building design, operations and management will have evolved to deliver more sophisticated, comfortable, healthier, low carbon buildings, with far lower energy needs. Local industries will be recognized leaders in sustainable, high-performance building design and construction.

The Goals

  1. All buildings are highly energy efficient.
  2. All buildings are powered by renewable energy

The Actions

Underway

  • Adopt the BC Energy Step Code, creating a roadmap towards net-zero energy ready buildings by 2030.
  • Renew the City’s Sustainability Checklist to include Step Code requirements for new buildings, as well as other sustainable building design elements that align with City goals.
  • Design and deliver customized deep energy retrofit programs, for rental apartment buildings.

Initiate by 2020

  • Support the development of a ‘Building Centre of Excellence’ to showcase leading-edge design and construction practices and to foster a high-performance culture within Victoria’s building industry.
  • Single Family Homes:
  • Design and deliver an innovative program for bundled and easy-to-achieve home energy retrofits.
  • Collaborate with heritage organizations to identify and promote energy retrofitting opportunities for homeowners.
  • Advocate for the development of a compulsory Canada/BC-wide home energy labelling program and, in the interim, implement a voluntary energy disclosure program.
  • Advocate for utilities and other levels of government to develop consistent energy-efficiency incentives and funding mechanisms.
  • Explore opportunities for -innovative financing mechanisms.
  • Design and deliver customized deep energy retrofit programs, for commercial buildings.
  • Support the development of a Victoria 2030 District or a comparable voluntary energy benchmarking program for commercial buildings.
  • Advocate for a compulsory provincial energy benchmarking program for large and complex buildings
  • Implement a transition plan to phase out oil systems in residential, commercial, and institutional properties by 2030.
  • Remove regulatory barriers to promote the installation of renewable energy systems, supported by planning guidance and education tools.
  • Assess opportunities to accelerate renewable natural gas uptake in residential, commercial, and institutional buildings.

Future Actions

  • Develop a strategy for reporting and tracking embodied energy and emissions — those associated with materials extraction, production and delivery — in new construction projects
  • Design and deliver customized deep energy retrofit programs for strata buildings.

Sustainable City Step 2: Develop and prioritize low-carbon modes of transportation

By 2050, people, goods and services moving around Victoria will generate little or no GHG emissions. A seamless and integrated mobility system prioritizes low carbon transportation including walking, biking, public transit and shared electric mobility options. Residents live in well-designed neighbourhoods with attractive amenities. The few remaining machines using internal combustion engines run on renewable fuels.

The Goals

  1. All Victorians have access to low carbon, high-performance and affordable multi-modal Transportation
  2. Vehicles in Victoria are powered by renewable energy.
  3. Smart land use minimizes transportation emissions.

The Actions

Underway

  • Complete the City’s Sustainable Mobility Strategy (SMS), which will allow the city to develop the management systems, programs and other tools to optimize and transform the movement of people, goods and services. As part of the SMS, the City will set specific targets for reducing single-occupancy vehicle use, vehicle kilometres traveled, and vehicle ownership. It will also adopt multi-modal service indicators and identify performance criteria for “complete” neighbourhoods and transportation service diversity.
  • Invest annually in design and construction of new walking and cycling infrastructure, including secure bike parking in the downtown core and in village centres.
  • Expand EV charging stations in City parkades, recreation centres, community centres and public spaces.
  • Invest in ‘transit-signal priority’ measures to reduce transit wait times in the downtown core.
  • Support the expansion of electric buses, including BC Transit and other commercial fleets, through infrastructure and permit programs
  • Advocate for energy performance requirements in provincial ride-sharing regulations.
  • Expand car share services in the downtown core and village centres.

Initiate by 2020

  • Work with municipal partners to implement “smart city” technologies that improve safety, affordability and convenience for public transit, walking, cycling, car-sharing and ride-sharing. Smart cities use data and technology to improve quality of life.
  • Design and implement an EV charging strategy, including design guidelines for new development projects, to promote and support the adoption of electrified personal, public, and commercial vehicles.
  • Invest in education and promotional programs for Victoria households, informed by behavioral insights, to increase use of public transit and active transportation.
  • Develop a transportation GHG information strategy in partnership with CRD and ICBC, supported by technology to facilitate transportation GHG planning and action.
  • Advocate for significantly improved commercial vehicle performance, higher fuel efficiency, and tighter air quality standards and monitoring and reporting.
  • Work with port authorities to supply on-site renewable energy for marine vessels.
  • Advocate to the Provincial government to require ICBC to offer distance-based or pay-as-you-drive automobile insurance.
  • Create (or work with the private sector to create) safe, secure bike parking downtown.

Future Actions

  • Promote and incentivize comprehensive transportation demand-management strategies for new development projects.
  • Assist commercial operators in their transition to renewably-powered fleet.
  • Pilot a sustainable urban freight improvement program for downtown with courier businesses using compact electric logistics vehicles and cargo-bicycles to decrease congestion and delivery vehicles on the road.
  • Partner with the CRD to undertake a regional pricing analysis on effective, fair and long-term mobility options such as decongestion charges.
  • Invest in programs that support transportation demand management for businesses and public institutions operating in Victoria.
  • Implement rapid transit on Douglas, Highway 1, and Highway 17 and micro transit services within neighbourhoods.

Sustainable City Step 3: Manage waste more sustainably

By 2050 waste-related emissions have been eliminated. Greenhouse gases produced by organic materials collected and treated in the region supply renewable energy to the community. Continuous improvement of the City’s waste management systems has dramatically reduced landfilling of waste to near zero. In fact, ‘waste’ is rarely heard in our vocabulary by mid-century. Instead, we focus on managing ‘materials’ and ‘resources’.

The Goal

  1. Organic materials are managed to avoid GHG emissions

The Actions

Underway

  • Continually improve the residential kitchen and yard waste collection and diversion programs, including for multi-family residences.
  • Foster behaviour change to reduce food waste through the “Love Food Hate Waste” educational campaign.
  • Partner with CRD to deliver a regional, industrial treatment facility for organic waste by 2025.

Initiate by 2020

  • Work with local stakeholders to reduce food waste from restaurants and to divert it from the landfill.
  • Reduce additional sources of food waste in the city, such as from the commercial sector and tourism industry.
  • Work with stakeholders to reduce and divert other materials that produce methane when landfilled (e.g. wood, paper, textiles).
  • Have on-street waste bins that are clearly marked for food waste, recycling and garbage

Future Actions

  • Partner with CRD and neighbouring municipalities to get more value from organic waste through pilot programs that stimulate new demand and keep nutrients in the region

Sustainable City Step 4: Lead and inspire with low-carbon, sustainable municipal operations

By 2050, all of the City’s operations, fleet and buildings will be renewably powered. The City has consistently demonstrated a track-record of successful GHG reduction programs and partnerships with community. The City has found innovative ways to minimize energy use and GHGs without diluting the quality of public services or the quality of community life.

The Goals

  1. The City is a recognized leader in climate mitigation and adaptation.
  2. The City takes integrated and informed climate action.
  3. The City will provide timely and accurate data supporting strong climate mitigation and adaptation actions.

The Actions

Underway

  • Establish a two-year staff corporate energy and climate action position using matching funds from an external partner. Join BC Hydro’s Corporate Energy Manager Program.
  • Plan for City vehicle electrification systems and networks.

Initiate by 2020

  • Develop a corporate energy and emissions management plan — including a ‘triple bottom line’ accounting system — to assess and balance environmental, social and financial risks and opportunities. The plan will also support deep energy retrofits for existing facilities.
  • Incorporate climate action performance measures into the City’s annual budgeting process.
  • Develop a Climate Action Economic Assessment Tool for both GHG mitigation and adaptation actions to identify the high-priority community programs that will deliver the most affordable GHG reductions for buildings, transportation and waste management.
  • Expand procurement policies to include sustainability performance criteria, including GHG production, and avoidance of all types of waste.
  • Update the corporate building policy for new construction to reference BC Energy Step Code requirements and provide staff training to support its adoption.
  • Formalize fleet electrification through the City’s fleet master planning process.
  • Where electric vehicles are not available, switch to low carbon fuels.
  • Build an education program to improve staff ’s capacity for energy and GHG management in their day-to-day decision making.

Sustainable City Step 5: Resilience in the Face of Climate Change.

In 2050, Victorians share sustainable community values, civic pride, neighbourhood partnerships, and a wise and common long-term planning view. Innovative adaptation projects were completed early and affordably to manage an increase in severe and prolonged storms, heatwaves, flooding, and sea level rise, recognizing that modest early investments would minimize costly and disruptive actions later. Victoria’s municipal infrastructure is strong and supports a healthy, biodiverse and resilient natural environment, a thriving economy, and a vibrant, active community.

The Goals

  1. All climate-related risks to City infrastructure are minimized through early and wise planning and action.
  2. Victoria’s natural environment flourishes in a changing climate.
  3. All Victorians are empowered and prepared for climate impacts and emergencies

The Actions

Underway

  • Develop the ‘business case for adaptation’ to demonstrate benefits of taking early action.
  • Conduct a community-wide climate vulnerability and risk assessment.
  • Assess how existing City plans incorporate climate risk and identify opportunities to align with ongoing and future City business.
  • Seek funding, investment, and partnership opportunities to enhance the speed and quality of adaptation initiatives.
  • Minimize flood risks through natural and engineered stormwater infrastructure.
  • Continue to integrate climate change impacts in environmental management decisions.
  • Increase native plantings on City owned and managed land to enhance biodiversity and support ecosystem migration.

Initiate by 2020

  • Analyze the economic, social and environmental implications of adopting a flood construction level.
  • Study how the direct and indirect impacts of climate change will affect the local economy.
  • Engage community members in refreshing the “Climate Adaptation Plan” and include actions for sectors beyond the municipal corporation (e.g., residents).
  • Create a community-wide monitoring and evaluation framework to assess resilience and demonstrate progress.
  • Consider future climate impacts when designing and retrofitting City buildings.
  • Support CRD initiatives and investments to acquire, expand and protect green spaces across the region.
  • Explore the creation of Environmental Development Permit Areas or other mechanisms to protect and enhance shoreline and marine habitats.
  • Work with partners to engage, educate and influence the general public to manage privately owned urban forest to be resilient to climate change.
  • Develop or amend landscaping guidelines to encourage private developments to use native tree stock that is adapted/resilient to future climate change.
  • Integrate climate adaptation with work being done on local and regional food security, where appropriate.

Future Actions

  • Study the interdependencies between infrastructure systems to minimize cascading effects.

Keep Reading: We’re All In This Together

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