Our downtown traffic lights are now LED, the longest lasting and lowest electricity consuming lighting technology available today, making city lighting the most efficient and lowest cost to operate. The City has also taken advantage of a community grant to install Solar Street lights in areas where residents have requested additional lighting.
Mayor and Council continue to create a sustainable culture and spirit of conservation by implementing in-house community programs to reduce consumption, promote conservation and raise environmental awareness at work and at home. Through staff training and the City’s distinctive campaign, “Turn It Off Dawson Creek”, staff have been encouraged to turn off lights, faucets, computers and vehicles. Due to this program we are seeing businesses and homeowners conserving energy and water “Turning It Off”. The City continues to move forward in a leadership role in the community.
In 2011, the City of Dawson Creek, Tourism Dawson Creek and BC Hydro held its first annual “Candlelight Conservation Dinner” which attracted over 500 participants and was hosted by 12 local restaurants. This evening event was designed to create conversations surrounding energy conservation, and in each year since, has been regarded as a valuable and enjoyable success.
BC Hydro and the City of Dawson Creek partner to fund an Energy Manager position locally in an effort to identify and track energy use, and to influence staff behaviours. Many energy upgrades have been completed in existing facilities along with the creation and implementation of numerous energy saving projects.
In fall of 2012 the City of Dawson Creek received funding from the Fraser Basin Council for the installation of seven (7) Electric Vehicle charging stations. The charging stations are free to use.
Effluent Reuse – Dawson Creek’s Reclaimed Water Facility
Dawson Creek continues to look for innovative ways of integrating environmental sustainability and economic vitality. A recent example is the Water Reuse Project in partnership with Shell. The Reclaimed Water Treatment Plant takes domestic sewage and treats it to industry-defined quality parameters for use in the oil and gas industry in place of fresh or potable water. Treating water to a higher quality standard (i.e. potable) is expensive, and is unnecessary for many industrial processes. The bulk of the treated water is being piped to Shell’s sites west of the City; with a truck filling station on the City site for use by other companies. This award winning project has been certified to a LEED standard and is significantly reducing demand on the City’s water system while still allowing for expansion of industry in the region. You can learn more about our Reclaimed Water Facility here.
Solar Hot Water
Seven municipal buildings: City Hall, Fire Hall, RCMP building, Senior’s Hall, Sudeten Hall, the Airport, and public works have seen cost savings with the installation of solar hot water heaters. In each location, the hot water system is diverted through a roof mounted solar heating panel. Several models have been tested to determine which ones function best in our climate. Each of the seven Solar Hot Water heaters was installed by our Northern Lights College partner through the renewable energy training and awareness program. Seniors and students both gained knowledge from the installation of the new Solar Hot Water system at the Senior’s Hall. The province’s building code has changed and The City of Dawson Creek is following direction in requiring all new homes to be built “Solar Ready”.
Solar Powered Bus Stops and Signage
Improvements to public transit include expanded bus routes and upgrades to bus stops, increasing safety and convenience. Eight bus stops now have solar powered lights. The installation of solar powered caution lights and lighted crosswalk signs improves public safety. The trail has been upgraded with solar lights to increase safety and visibility and two Solar Speed signs are in use on high traffic streets reminding drivers to slow down. The success of this project has the City looking at purchasing additional speed signs for other areas of the City through various grants and partnership funding.
Water, Waste & Energy Conservation
As per Council direction and initiative, the City asked NEAT (Northern Environment Action Team) to complete a “Waste & Energy Assessment” on City owned facilities. Assessing the buildings told us “how” current reduction practices are progressing and “what” opportunities there are for us to improve. We passed the test and won the honour of displaying the NEAT Approved Logo on doors at City facilities. The City encourages local businesses to take up the challenge and sign up for this assessment.
Council’s Green Building Policy and Green Vehicle Policy – Energy & Water Conservation, Recycling, Composting and Idle Reduction are some of the many goals and objectives for reducing emissions, waste, energy and water use at the corporate level. Many of these policy options have been adapted and expanded at the community level.
Mayor and Council created a carbon fund policy in 2011 to help accelerate investment in emissions reduction projects in Dawson Creek to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Access to the carbon fund has enabled the City to undertake many energy efficient upgrades and led to significant energy cost savings.
In recent years, residents and surrounding communities were given the opportunity to purchase rain barrels and compost bins at a reduced rate in effort to raise awareness of water conservation and waste diversion.