Squamish holds off on climate accountability letter

Almost one year after promising a letter to fossil fuel companies, mayor says efforts better spent elsewhere

Close to a year after making its promise, Squamish appears to have put its plans to send a climate accountability letter to fossil fuel companies on hold.

"I have not ruled out sending the letter, and will be guided by council in this regard, but in the short term I do believe our efforts and time are better spent elsewhere," Mayor Karen Elliott said in a written statement to The Chief on July 12.

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"The recent climate emergency motion was a clear indicator of where we believe the opportunity for change and growing a sustainable economy and community lie. In the short term, I believe these areas, along with advocating with the province on better policy, will do more than the letter to [e]ffect meaningful change."

Last September, District council voted unanimously in favour of sending a letter to fossil fuel companies that would ask them to help foot the bill for costs of climate change.

This occurred before the municipal election. All members on that previous council, save for Coun. Doug Race and Elliott, are no longer serving.

The letter initiative was spearheaded by activist groups West Coast Environmental Law and My Sea to Sky. A number of other municipalities, including Whistler, also signed on to the idea.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler sent its climate accountability letter soon afterward.

It experienced widespread criticism on the matter, as it was pointed out three million tourists make their way to Whistler each year, mostly by car and plane.

Later, CIBC announced it was removing the oil and gas portion from the agenda of its high-profile conference held in Whistler. The response drew national attention.

After those developments, The Chief learned in January the District of Squamish hadn't sent its letter.

At the time, the District blamed the lack of action on an administrative oversight.

Elliott's statement at the time suggested that the phrasing of the letter would be softened.

Instead of asking fossil fuel companies to pay the bill for climate change, Elliott said her letter would "invite the fossil fuel companies to the conversation so that they can learn about the challenges we face as municipalities."

 

 

 

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