Bill 27 in BC is the Local Government Statutes Amendment Act, which requires all local governments to include targets, policies and actions for reducing GHG emissions in their OCPs by May 31, 2010. While these targets can be specific GHG targets, they can also be non-binding aspirational targets, which need only to indicate the potential or intention of a community to work toward targets based on current inventories.

Those of us who wanted to see the Provincial government push harder to get targets and action plans in place to start seeing significant progress in GHG reductions may be disappointed that these targets are aspirational, and that policies and actions only need to provide general direction. However, having a requirement for any type of targets, policies and actions is a hugely important first step for most local governments who are still trying to come to grips with understanding GHG emissions, inventories, carbon tax, etc. Having targets mandated into an Official Community Plan is the first step in entrenching energy and emission reduction intentions into a regulatory document.

An OCP governs land use decisions in a community, and land use-related factors such as buildings and transportation together account for at least 50% (often much more) of a community’s GHG emissions. Until we better integrate land use, transportation, building design, construction, location decisions, we will not be able to achieve meaningful GHG reductions.

Bill 27 may not be the answer for our communities’ challenges in reducing GHG. However, it is the beginning, as we will inevitably see increasingly more robust best practices for matching targets to the realities of the scientific consensus, identifying strategic actions to best bridge the gap between our current performance and our identified goals, and policy creation that best leverages a local government’s legislative opportunities to effectively drive change toward a lower-carbon economy.

Is your community prepared to meet its Bill 27 requirements?

Local Government (Green Communities) Statues Amendment Act, (Bill 27) 2008

By Cheeying Ho