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North Cowichan re-establishes environmental committee

Inaugural meeting expcted next month
North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh is the chairwoman of the municipality’s newly re-established environmental advisory committee. (File photo)

North Cowichan is re-establishing its environmental advisory committee, and council recently appointed 12 community members to fill its ranks.

They include Sandy McPherson, Neil Anderson, David Coulson, Cameron Campbell, Dr. Zoe Dalton, Dr. Shannon Waters, Ashley Muckle, Bruce Coates, Per Dahlstrom, Dr. Jana Kotaska, Dr. Jesse Patterson, and Dr. Geoffrey Strong.

The inaugural EAC meeting will likely occur in February, with bi-monthly meetings thereafter.

The EAC is expected to provide council with valuable advice on corporate planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the community, as well as other environmental matters, such as natural areas, watershed protection, air quality, climate adaptation, and any other emerging issues referred by council.

Council disbanded the majority of its standing committees, including the EAC, following the municipal election in 2018 to allow the newly elected council time to establish its priorities and determine where it would benefit from committee support.

But, since then, the municipality has officially acknowledged that a climate emergency is underway, and re-establishing the EAC was seen as necessary to deal with the related issues.

EAC chairwoman and North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh said more than 30 highly qualified applicants put their names forward to participate on the committee,.

She said everyone who applied was a strong candidate and represented various sectors of the community.

“In the end, council chose to expand the committee from nine to 12 members to best support us on one of our most important and challenging mandates; responding to the climate emergency,” Marsh said.

“I am looking forward to working with this group of individuals to apply a climate-focused lens to all of North Cowichan’s strategic and long-range planning. With the official community plan and climate action and energy plan updates already underway, and a new master transportation plan on the docket for this year, there will be plenty of opportunity for this committee to provide valuable community advice and expertise to council.”