A look at a year of BI’s climate work

The Bainbridge Island City Council will celebrate the first anniversary of its Climate Action Plan at Tuesday’s meeting.

On Nov. 10, 2020, the council adopted the plan. It has three overarching goals:

1. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2045 compared with 2014 levels, with interim milestones of 25% reduction by 2025 and 60% by 2035.

2. Ensure BI is climate savvy and can withstand the impacts of climate change;

3. And inspire community action and partner with local and regional organizations to take meaningful and equitable climate change mitigation and adaptation actions.

The CAP outlines actions in multiple sectors, including energy, building efficiency, waste, environmental resilience and transportation, with 18 priority actions identified for implementation in the first year. While some actions were delayed due to lack of staff, initial steps were taken to educate the community and initiate actions.

The first Climate officer, Autumn Salamack, has prepared a summary of actions taken to implement the plan.

•In January, the Climate Change Advisory Committee hosted two online events to provide an overview of the CAP and answer questions.

•In June, the council passed a law to only allow single-use food service products to be provided when a customer asks or confirms they would like to use them. Additional actions to reduce waste-related emissions are scheduled before the council.

•The city opened the Senior Community Center as a cooling center in June and August in response to excessive heat warnings. Air conditioning and water were available for visitors, and BI Ride and Island Volunteer Caregivers provided rides to the center as needed.

•In September, the council allocated over $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for CAP-related activities, including: $250,000 to install solar panels and storage batteries at emergency hubs and $2 million for implementation of projects recommended in the forthcoming Sustainable Transportation Plan.

•In September, the city substantially completed construction of separated bike lanes on a portion of Eagle Harbor Drive.

•In October, Salamack, the Climate Mitigation and Adaptation officer, began work to coordinate activities in support of the CAP.

•In October, staff submitted a Department of Ecology grant application to help fund work related to mapping sea level rise vulnerabilities and gathering geographic-specific community feedback.

•In October, staff submitted a draft Partnership Agreement to Puget Sound Energy to accompany their Franchise Agreement with the city. The agreement seeks collaborative action between the city and PSE to address climate change by reducing GHG emissions and improving the safety and reliability of electricity on the island.

•In October, staff developed Goals and Objectives for a Groundwater Management Plan, including reducing and adapting to climate change impacts.

•In November, the city celebrated the opening of the next segment of the Sound to Olympics Trail, a major sustainable transportation network providing a separated shared-use pathway along the Highway 305 Corridor.

•In November, staff began evaluating the conversion of gas-powered landscaping tools to electric.

•Staff is finalizing a municipal GHG emissions inventory using 2019 data to evaluate changes in climate pollution resulting from city activities and operations.

•The draft Sustainable Transportation Plan, currently planned for submittal to council in December, includes weighted Climate Action and Resilience criteria to evaluate and rank potential projects and programs using a climate lens.

•Next steps: Salamack is working with staff and the CCAC to develop a 2022 work plan and budget to accelerate implementation of the CAP and provide meaningful opportunities for residents to help meet climate action goals. Salamack will also work with the CCAC to produce a brief CAP progress report in early 2022 to be posted on the city website and presented at a future City Council meeting.

In other news Tuesday the council will:

•Look at an ordinance to create a Multifamily Tax Exemption Program.

•Study an ordinance on the Protection of Landmark Trees.

•Consider code changes related to improving the land-use preapplication phase.

•Discuss exempting businesses from Business and Occupation tax on COVID-19 relief grants or debt forgiveness.

•Seek professional services to research wastewater re-use opportunities and another to develop a stormwater system plan.

•Look at Sustainable Transportation Plan projects impact on the climate. The Climate Change Action Committee will report back to the council on their findings.

•Recognize Councilmember Christy Carr for her service. Approve a proclamation honoring Veterans Day. Approve a proclamation celebrating the 30th anniversary of the annexation of the city of Bainbridge Island. And approve a proclamation for Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance.

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