In the lead up to Election Day on October 20th, 2018, the Community Alliance will post answers from candidates to crucial questions. Today, we focus on impact of new projects.
Question: (CRD Only question) When making a cost-benefit analysis for a capital project, how would you account for the environmental impacts of that project, and what priority would you place on minimizing these impacts?
Gary Holman (candidate for CRD Director):
Depends on the project. Some projects (eg, liquid and solid waste, cycling/pedestrian/EV charging infrastructure, expansion of public transit, waste water reclamation, water/energy conservation investments) are already primarily driven by environmental factors. For new buildings (eg, fire hall, library, pool, CRD main offices), typically the level of energy and environmental standard (e.g., such as various levels of LEED certification) is analyzed in terms of incremental capital costs versus future energy and water savings.
The location of projects is an underrated factor. It is important from a GHG emission perspective, to keep settlement patterns compact. That is why our OCP stipulates (and I have always advocated) keeping the library and affordable housing in or near the villages, or at least within easy access to existing public transit routes. (Although not a CRD project, bylaw changes legalizing suites and cottages, which could reinforce already dispersed, car dependent settlement patterns, should be considered through this lens. A study that I helped fund as CRD Director undertaken by the Pembina Institute indicated that transportation GHGs are a far more important factor in location of new housing than energy efficiency of housing itself.) Parking policies can also promote GHG intensive sprawl. Short term parking congestion issues in Ganges (e.g., on Saturday market day in the summer) creates pressure to spend scarce tax dollars on parking which can further promote car use.
Robin Williams (candidate for CRD Director):
As previously mentioned I will implement a “Green Practices” policy that currently does not exist. This really needs to be considered and incorporated ideally at the design phase. SSI is going to have up to 40 million dollars of infrastructure projects over the four year term. So we have a good place to start. As a simple example the pool roof currently has no rain water catchment that could be provided to the garden next to it. This garden current uses drinking water from North Salt Spring. There is a really simple and inexpensive fix here. Long term I want some solutions that are viewed as “world class”. I want to see this kind of leadership integrated into all CRD activity on the Island.