Friday, September 7, 2012

Sustainability Bylaw in the Township

At the last Township of Langley Council Meeting in July, Councillor Kim Richter submitted the following motion that will be discussed at this coming Monday evening's council meeting.

Whereas the Sustainability Charter is an important policy direction for the future of the Township of Langley;

Whereas the time has come to operationalize this policy direction as much as possible in terms of new development in the Township of Langley;

Therefore be it resolved that Council ask staff to report back on how to amend existing development bylaws and regulations to ensure that new development in the Township of Langley includes such sustainability features as:

a) LEED certification;
b) Green roofs;
c) Living walls;
d) Permeable pavement;
e) Electric car plug-ins;
f) Electric car recharging stations;
g) Gray water systems; and
h) Other aquifer recharge systems.

While I support this motion and the energy reduction that would results from the potential policy changes, the largest source of GHG is from the transportation sector in BC. Commercial and residential buildings are responsible for about 11% of BC's GHG profile, the transportation sector accounts for 36%. Also electric cars only shift the issue of energy use from the gas station to the coal or natural gas powered electrical plant.

The real issue that the Township has to deal with is building communities that give people transportation choice, so they don't have to drive a car. The saying goes that the best sustainable transportation plan is a sustainable land-use plan. If the Township wants to get serious about sustainability, it will need to get serious about building walkable, mixed-use neighbourhoods and give more thought to where it approves single-family houses and strip malls.

Councillor Richter's motion is a good one, but without a strong land-use plan I don't think it will be truly effective in reducing the largest source of GHG in Langley.

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