The Village of Fruitvale is working to reduce its carbon footprint by promoting active transportation like e-bikes. Photo: Jim Bailey

The Village of Fruitvale is working to reduce its carbon footprint by promoting active transportation like e-bikes. Photo: Jim Bailey

Village of Fruitvale working to reduce carbon footprint

Village of Fruitvale considers West Kootenay 100 per cent renewable energy plan

The Village of Fruitvale rolled out its operating budget’s new initiatives for 2021 and the mayor likes what he sees.

The village is looking to go greener in the coming years and adding bike racks, EV (electric vehicle) charging stations, and purchasing an electric bike for village staff are on the list of their initiatives.

Village council was also presented with the West Kootenay 100 per cent Renewable Energy Plan at council on Jan. 11, and is considering joining nine other West Kootenay communities in reducing their carbon footprint.

“We had the West Kootenay Eco-society’s Montana Burgess, she presented to us last council meeting,” said Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette. “And at the next Fruitvale council meeting, Feb. 8, council will discuss it and decide if we are going to go ahead with it.”

Warfield, Rossland, Castlegar, Nelson, Kaslo, Slocan, Silverton, New Denver, and the Regional District of Central Kootenay have already committed to transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy no later than 2050, and Fruitvale may be number 10.

“I expect we will,” said Morissette. “Whether you believe in climate change or not, it’s going to save us money in any case. The carbon tax is going up, up every year to $170 a ton by the time it’s done, so the less carbon fuel we use, the better it is for the village.”

Fruitvale is working to reduce its carbon footprint by adding electric-vehicle stations, promoting active transportation, and renewable energy.

Fruitvale is working to reduce its carbon footprint by adding electric-vehicle stations, promoting active transportation, and renewable energy.

Fruitvale has already taken steps in going greener, having installed an EV charging station and signed onto the Kootenay Boundary and Central Kootenay regional districts’ organics composting program.

In addition, at council’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Mayor Morissette asked that the village consider purchasing an electric-bike and four helmets as an alternate mode of transportation for the bylaw officer and city staff.

“We’re going to expect the bylaw officer to use it when the weather’s decent, and he’s only here for like an hour a day. So for the rest of the day it’s usable by the rest of staff, and in my thinking it just kind of encourages staff to say, ‘Hey it’s pretty cool, maybe I should get one.’”

The cost estimate is about $3,500 for the bike, but the savings would be about $750 per year or more.

Council also gave their support to installing two more bike racks in the downtown core to encourage residents to use pedal-power when possible or even invest in an electric bike.

Similar to the racks located in front of the Kootenay Savings building, two racks each will be installed at or near the post office and Liberty Foods. The cost of the racks is approximately $200 each with labour to install all racks at approximately $500 and supplies of $200 for an estimate of about $1,500.

The adoption of active modes of transportation will reduce fuel consumption and maintenance costs while promoting environmental stewardship and encourage carbon neutrality within the village.

The installation of EV charging stations is also being considered, however, the initiative is pending consultation with local businesses throughout the village.

“We’d like to add a couple more, make it easier and they’ll be pay ones, and the one at the hall will be converted over to a pay as you go, because we don’t want the village to be subsidizing them,” added Morissette.

The objective is to promote the use of alternative fuel sources leading to a clean B.C. and continue to meet and exceed the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program objectives for a carbon neutral village.

Read more: Fruitvale pursues funding for waste-water plant upgrades

Read: Village to lease B.V. middle school land to affordable housing

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