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LETTER: Delay not an option in dealing with climate crisis

Last November an atmospheric river washed away highways across the province, including the Malahat. In the Fraser Valley, farms disappeared underwater. Lives and livelihoods were lost.

The climate crisis is here and now, and there is no way we can successfully adapt if we keep making it worse. We must reduce our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions quickly and drastically.

Last year Greater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT) asked the Capital Regional District (CRD) board to prioritize public transit, walking, rolling and cycling over highway expansion, and they voted unanimously to do so. If the new CRD board implements this transportation prioritization policy, it could result in hundreds of millions of dollars invested in electric RapidBus lines, cycling routes, and sidewalks. And this would mean less traffic, less GHG pollution, cleaner air, and quieter streets.

We asked municipalities to make sure people who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters are welcomed on all ages and abilities bike and roll routes, and Victoria city council voted unanimously to do so. But implementation has been left to the newly elected council. Our communities must become more accessible for seniors and people with disabilities while we reduce car traffic 25 per cent by 2030 as the provincial climate plan requires.

GVAT supports the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review, including funding for First Nations to address the economic impacts of logging deferrals. The provincial government has still not put the money on the table.

On this tragic anniversary, let’s collectively resolve to push our governments to make Greater Victoria, and our whole province, an example of how to make climate action effective and fair. Delay is not an option.

Eric Doherty and Jane Welton, co-leads

Greater Victoria Acting Together Climate Justice Team