Survey Answers - Chunu Das

Independent new candidate for New Westminster city council

 

Do you support raising {your municipality’s} community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets to meet or beat the new province-wide standard of 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 80% by 2050 (percentages refer to a reduction below 2007 levels)? [Note that some cities already match the 80% target but lack interim targets, which are crucial to meeting these goals!]

Yes

 

Will you submit a formal request to council to adopt these targets within one year of being elected?

Yes

 

Are you in favour of transparent, annual measuring and reporting of [your municipality’s] community-wide emissions?

Yes

 

Will you submit a formal request to council to ensure transparent, annual measuring and reporting of community-wide emissions, within one year of being elected?

Yes

 

Will you commit to taking a leadership role in ensuring that city council and staff work with community members, businesses, developers, and other stakeholders to achieve these community-wide targets in a meaningful way and within the specified time frame?

Yes

 

Describe three steps you will take during your first year in office to uphold this commitment.

1. Work with New Westminster  Environment  advisory committee that has a broad representation of community members to get input into the vision, direction and support for ghg reductions. 2. Work with New Westminster Youth advisory committee to get the youth perspective on the city's environmental issues. Identify how youth can be change agents for ghg reductions: through advocacy or project development and action. 3. Work with existing community organizations such as the Walkers caucus and Bike hub in supporting the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in the city and promoting non fossil fuel means of transportation.

 

Force of Nature’s framework emphasises “five key concepts” of urban climate solutions. What ideas or initiatives would you bring forth to promote, encourage or enforce the reduction of community-wide GHG emissions in each of the following categories: compact communities, multi-modal transportation, renewable energy, green jobs, and circular economy.

New Westminster is a small municipality with no land to grow. Population growth and densification can be detrimental to the environment and ghg reduction unless carefully considered in the urban planning process.

1. Compact communities. *It is critical  to include green spaces and plant trees in any new development while protecting the same in older neighbourhoods. Create shared amenities space in neighbourhoods for social integration and sharing of locally grown produce, and recycling of products  thereby reducing waste. * Identify  and review sources of ghg emissions and the city including all sectors and  identify ways of reducing those emissions.

2.  Multimodal transportation. The main objective would be to encourage less reliance on fossil fuel based vehicular transportation: * work with the Walker's caucus and Bike hub to create a more pedestrian and cyclist friendly community, looking at  safety and security of the walking and biking experience. *work with Translink to improve and upgrade skytrain stations for persons with mobility challenges;  also to improve transit connections and bus frequencies  and thereby encourage greater use of public transportation. * have more charging stations around the city for electric cars.

3. Renewable energy. While there are several forms of renewable energy including wind and geothermal heat, the best suited  to New Westminster would be solar energy. This has already started, and therefore the use of solar panels in the city should be expanded.

4.Green jobs. New Westminster has laid the foundation for green jobs that will preserve or restore the environment. * Having fibre optics in the city allows many opportunities to attract green jobs in the IT sector. None of which will create ghg emissions. * There are opportunities also to attract specialists that can support solar panel expansion such as environmental engineers,  solar cell technicians. * Organic gardening can be encouraged in the city through incentives and supports such as composting and organic gardening workshops provided by New Westminster Parks and Recreation gardeners.

5. Circular economy *Heat from the Sewage plant heat recovery project can be used in the new developments such as the RCH expansion. *Locally grown produce sharing and used products and goods can be shared through common amenities spaces and neighbourhood hubs.

 

You can reach Chinu at chinudas.604@gmail.com


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