Based on a recently released climate report, Saanich has some ambitious goals for how it plans to tackle its largest emissions contributor.
According to its first annual Climate Report Card, Saanich reduced mobility-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 11 per cent between 2007 and 2018. However, transportation still accounted for 57 per cent of the municipality’s GHG totals, according to their last emissions inventory in 2018.
The report card highlighted how Saanich has replaced 100 per cent of its municipal fleet cars, excluding police and fire, with electric vehicles (EVs). Rebecca Newlove, Saanich’s sustainability manager, says they hope to start transferring their municipal fleet trucks to EVs as well. The community is also monitoring other cities who are running pilot projects with electric frontline service vehicles, which Newlove said have certain speed and charging requirements.
“The market is coming,” she said, adding that they expect to see those vehicles come to B.C. in the next five or so years.
Although it currently has no electric buses, Saanich’s goal is to have the fleet completely electric by 2030. Newlove said BC Transit is aware of the community’s ambitious target and she expects electric buses to be on the road locally in the next few years.
Newlove said EVs are “best-in-class” for the municipality’s fleet from a lifecycle perspective — due to their low maintenance and fuel costs. Government mandates will also help drive the market price of zero-emission vehicles down, including larger ones, she said.
The report said Saanich has made “considerable progress” on its electric mobility strategy, including securing grants for new public EV charging stations and requiring all new buildings to have chargers and electrified stalls.
The community is aiming to have 36 per cent of all personal vehicles electrified by 2030.
The report card says Saanich continues to work with partners like the province and ICBC to get more accurate local level emissions data.
“Ultimately what we want is vehicles’ kilometres travelled data for our local community, but it’s not easily accessible at this time,” Newlove said, noting that they already moved to a more current emissions tracking system in 2018.
Overall, the community achieved or is on track for meeting 13 out of 16 of its 2020 identified mobility actions. The remaining three are active transportation projects, which Newlove said weren’t funded last year due to tough decisions council had to make during the pandemic, but it’s been requested that they be considered again this year.
“It’s an ambitious plan and there’s a lot of action and work to be done, but that’s the idea, that those budget and resource requests are back in and hopefully we get access to some of them, if not all of them,” she said.