Pictured: Partners and stakeholders celebrated the completion of the Accelerate Kootenays network in May 2018 in Creston. Representatives from the RDEK, RDCK, RDKB were joined by local government officials, Teck, Columbia Basin Trust, BC Hydro, FortisBC and the Provincial government – including Hon. Michelle Mungall. (Community Energy Association file)

Kootenay Regional Districts win 2020 Sustainable Communities Award

The award recognizes the Accelerate Kootenays project

The Regional Districts of East Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary and Central Kootenay have been selected as the winners of the 2020 Sustainable Communities Award for exceptional work in the Visionary Award category for the Accelerate Kootenays project.

The awards honour and celebrate the most innovative environmental initiatives in cities and communities across Canada, explained the RDEK in a press release.

The project, Accelerate Kootenays, is Canada’s first community-driven, collaborative strategy to build a clean transportation network, adds the RDEK. It has created an electric vehicle (EV) charging station network across south eastern B.C., making charging EVs convenient and reliable for anyone travelling or living in the area.

The project involved two years of hard work and $1.5 million from various stakeholders.

READ MORE: Cranbrook gets charging station for electric vehicles

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) chose just 11 local governments for their outstanding efforts in nine different categories. The categories included asset management, brownfields, climate change, energy, neighbourhoods, transportation, waste, water and a new category in honour of GMF’s 20th anniversary.

The RDEK says that winners will deliver a live, TED-talk-style presentation on their projects at FCM’s virtual Sustainable Communities Conference, held October 20-22, 2020. Recipients in each category are also eligible for the Inspire Award, given to the most creative and innovative project following the conference.

“Local solutions—scaled up—deliver major national impact, like economic growth and the emission reductions Canada needs to meet its climate change goals. Whether it is through improved energy efficiency, fewer greenhouse gas emissions or stronger local infrastructure, local governments get the job done efficiently and cost-effectively because they connect solutions to local needs and local realities,” said Bill Karsten, President of FCM. “This year’s FCM Sustainable Communities Award winners embody those principles of sustainability and collaboration. Moreover, they exemplify how municipal innovation can have concrete impacts and deliver for Canadians.”

Rob Gray, Chair of the RDEK says that the project is an example of what communities throughout the Kootenays are capable of.

“As a small rural area in British Columbia, we are proud of the meaningful impact Accelerate Kootenays will have on reducing our carbon footprint. This project is an example of innovation and partnership and it is an honour to see it recognized at the national level,” Gray said.

The project was made possible through the Regional Districts of East Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary and Central Kootenay, as well as support from Columbia Basin Trust, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Teck, the Province of BC, FortisBC, BC Hydro, and Powertech Labs. The project is facilitated by the Community Energy Association.

The Sustainable Communities Awards is an initiative of FCM’s Green Municipal Fund (GMF), a $1 billion program, delivered through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and funded by the Government of Canada.



corey.bullock@cranbrooktownsman.com

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