Press Release: Residents applaud New Westminster as City steps up race to net-zero emissions

Residents with Force of Nature celebrated as the City of New Westminster unanimously approved "seven bold steps" to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the city's climate targets.

"I'm so proud of this city,” declared Jennifer Nathan, resident of New Westminster and volunteer with Force of Nature. “I can't wait for New West to start transforming into a zero-emission city."The original climate targets strategy, which focused on actions to reduce emissions, was presented in September of this year. But after residents and councillors called for the report to be strengthened and action to begin with the 2020 budget, the "New Westminster’s Seven Bold Steps" report was created.

The seven steps range from transitioning to a car light community and increasing the numbers of people who walk, bike or take transit, to aiming for all new homes and buildings to be zero emissions by 2030.

Here are New Westminster’s seven steps:

  1. Carbon Free Corporation – the city will reduce its carbon footprint, and strive to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 to address the climate emergency, which includes achieving greenhouse gas reductions required to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 C.
  2. Car-light Community – accelerate the Master Transportation Plan targets for mode split: 60 per cent of all trips within the city will be by sustainable modes of transportation (walk, transit, bike, multi-occupant shared) by 2030.
  3. Carbon Free Homes and Buildings – Community carbon emissions for all homes and buildings will be reduced significantly. By 2030, all new and replacement heating and hot water systems will be zero emissions.
  4. Pollution Free Vehicles – By 2030, 50 per cent of kilometres driven by New Westminster registered vehicle owners will be by zero emissions vehicles.
  5. Carbon Free Energy – The city will invest in a smart electrical grid in order to accommodate the required rapid conversion to building and vehicle electrification.
  6. Robust Urban Forest – New Westminster’s urban forest canopy cover will be increased to 27 per cent by 2030 to support the removal of 4,050 tonnes of carbon pollution every year and increase our forest’s carbon storage capacity by 50 per cent.
  7. Quality People-Centered Public Realm – A minimum of 10 per cent of today’s street space that currently only serves motor vehicles, excluding transit, will be reallocated for sustainable transportation or public gathering by 2030. The natural environment will be integrated with the public realm.

"New West is diving headlong into the race to net-zero emissions,” stated Katelyn Maki, Force of Nature's New Westminster organizer, who praised the report. “To be honest, it's the kind of climate action we need to be seeing in every city in the Lower Mainland."

Force of Nature is excited to see the bold solutions that New West will implement in order to achieve the seven steps passed tonight.

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We have our own bold campaign to create a Car Free Columbia, which would help meet the bold steps adopted by New Westminster! Check out our campaign page for more information!