For the City of Colwood ‘going green’ isn’t just about helping the environment, it’s also about saving money.
From efforts to replace halogen light bulbs with high-efficiency LED lighting on the streets and at city buildings – a change that reduced the fire hall’s energy costs by $1,500 per year – to replacing vehicles that are aging out with electric vehicles to reduce fuel costs, the City has taken on a number of environmentally-friendly initiatives over the past decade.
Coun. Rob Martin, who chairs the Emergency Planning Committee, notes that while the reasons for some projects may not have been apparent to all initially, they’ve certainly shown to be an effective use of resources as time has gone on.
Martin uses the example of electric car charging stations, implemented by the City several years ago when the market for that kind of infrastructure was minimal, as an example of forward-thinking.
“People were saying we were wasting money. It was a matter of being able to look into the future and to be able to see where we were going,” he said.
Martin also feels the City has a responsibility to set an example for its citizens – “who’s leading who?” he questioned – and the community has made it clear that environmental concerns are very important as the municipality works to update its Official Community Plan.
“They’re thinking about how Colwood is going to look down the road. Do we want to be an environmentally sound community and is that something we value? We’re hearing [yes] loud and clear.”
Colwood has also engaged in a collaboration with Royal Roads University and its environmental science program to create a ‘Climate Score Tool’ that will lead to a better assessment of the climate impact of all development proposals. Categories from transportation to landscape changes and energy use would be rated and scored.
Martin sees the collaboration as a unique opportunity.
“We’re fortunate because Royal Roads has made a genuine and concerted effort to working with us,” he said. “You’re getting all these great minds that are working towards their [masters] but they’re adding value to the city too.”