Climate Action

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Municipalities in BC have pledged to reduce their community-wide greenhouse gas emissions.

Households directly account for 40% of BC’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and Central Saanich is committed to working with residents to improve our homes and infrastructure.

All levels of government, industry and the public must work together to reduce emissions and respond to climate impacts.

Please check out Updates below and subscribe on the right of the page to receive updates straight to your inbox!

Also check out our website for how you can calculate and reduce your carbon footprint: https://www.centralsaanich.ca/climate-action.


Municipalities in BC have pledged to reduce their community-wide greenhouse gas emissions.

Households directly account for 40% of BC’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and Central Saanich is committed to working with residents to improve our homes and infrastructure.

All levels of government, industry and the public must work together to reduce emissions and respond to climate impacts.

Please check out Updates below and subscribe on the right of the page to receive updates straight to your inbox!

Also check out our website for how you can calculate and reduce your carbon footprint: https://www.centralsaanich.ca/climate-action.


  • Happy Earth Day 2021!

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    Today is Earth Day. It’s a great day to celebrate our connection to the Earth, and also to re-commit in our responsibility as environmental stewards. The theme of Earth Day 2021 is #RestoreOurEarth, and a great way to do this is through our relationship with food.

    This year, we invite you to plant your own garden. Whether that’s in your yard, containers on your balcony, or near a sunny window in your house.

    To support you in this, we’re hosting a SEED GIVEAWAY.

    When: May 6

    Where: Municipal Hall, 1903 Mt Newton Cross Rd, Saanichton

    Time: 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

    Come pick up some vegetable, herb, and local native wildflower seeds.

    Local food systems are so critical to local climate resilience. They reduce the distance our food travels to get to us, reduce food waste, and increase our appreciation for the communities and ecosystems that feed us.

    Hope to see you May 6! Remember to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

    Happy Earth Day!


  • Spring 2021 Update

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    Launching the “Climate Action in the Community” series

    Over the past few years, the District has ramped up our goals and initiatives related to climate action. We’re constantly making improvements, introducing policies, and implementing initiatives – and we want to make sure you get the opportunity to learn about them and the benefits they bring to our community.

    We’re excited to introduce our new “Climate Action in the Community” series, a social media & Let’s Talk campaign that spotlights climate projects across the District. Every couple weeks, we’ll post a snapshot summarizing a new or existing initiative – such as the retrofitting of the Caretaker House at Centennial Park to 100% LED lights.


    Taking the Express Lane to transition the municipal fleet

    This spring, Central Saanich is deepening our commitment to decarbonize our fleet by increasing our pledge under the West Coast Electric Fleets program to the “Express Lane” level. This commits the District to at least 10% zero emission vehicle procurement by 2025 for our light-duty vehicles and a portion of our medium and heavy-duty fleet, and to an annual review of this pledge to assess room for increased ambition.

    This pledge is in line with our Climate Leadership Plan, especially our target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and the “Green fleet transition” action under Municipal Operations. Being in the Express Lane group opens the door to access resources, funding, and technical support. The District has already taken significant steps, including acquiring EVs, installing public EV charging stations, using an e-bike for water metering, introducing an Electric Vehicle & E-Bike Strategy, and implementing a policy in Fall 2020 requiring new construction to be EV and e-bike ready.

    And on this topic… Central Saanich Police kicked off the New Year with a new electric vehicle! As Chief Ian Lawson put it, “The Central Saanich Police Service received a second electric vehicle this year as part of its commitment to the District’s Climate Leadership Plan to reduce our carbon footprint.”


    Municipal “top-up” rebate

    The CleanBC Better Homes program offers a suite of rebates for energy conversion & efficiency projects and, since January 2020, Central Saanich has sweetened the deal with an additional $350 rebate for folks converting their primary heating from fossil fuels to electric heat pumps.

    As a result of these and other rebates and the regional Bring It Home 4 Climate program, of which we are a key partner, residential retrofits are booming! Our original municipal contribution helped support over 25 homeowners in upgrading from oil or natural gas to electric heat pumps, which will reduce GHG emissions by around 200 tCO2e each year – equal to 13% reductions of residential fuel oil emissions community-wide!

    PACE Pilot Program

    The top-up rebate is just one of the steps we’re taking to get closer to our goal of converting all remaining oil heating in the District to electric by 2030. Homeowners in Central Saanich wanting to replace their oil heating systems with an electric heat pump will soon have access to 0%-interest financing through the District of Central Saanich.

    The District’s two-year pilot program is one of the first of its kind in the province. The program, funded by the District and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, is known as Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. It enables homeowners to fund the up-front cost of the home improvement through an interest free loan repaid on property tax bills over 10 years.

    “By enabling homeowners to make the switch, we will reduce carbon-intensive energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions in our community,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor. “It will also decrease home energy bills for participating homeowners, which can be put towards repaying the loan.” The program will also helps increase resilience against future climate impacts, since heat pumps are able to heat and cool homes and can therefore handle the hotter summers anticipated for southern Vancouver Island.

    Workshops and educational sessions for Central Saanich’s PACE pilot program will be scheduled over the summer while the official launch is planned for fall 2021.

    For more information

    If you are a homeowner in the District currently using heating oil and would like to be kept informed of program developments, please contact Ali Rivers, Climate Action Specialist for Central Saanich at ali.rivers@csaanich.ca or 250-652-4444.


    Stay engaged on the Official Community Plan

    What would make Central Saanich better now and in the future? The District is asking the community to share their ideas during the Official Community Plan (OCP) review. The OCP impacts all areas of our life in the District – and is a wonderful opportunity to further embed climate action into our plans and build a more resilient Central Saanich.

    How to get involved

    • Visit the project site, LetsTalkCentralSaanich.ca/OCP
    • If you weren’t able to attend the virtual town hall, check out the video online
    • Complete a “Community Conversations” workbook by April 30! You can do this on your own, with family or your bubble, or virtually with neighbours & friends

    Further public consultation will take place in the fall, when the District hopes to be able to offer both online and in-person events and present draft policies for discussion and feedback.


    Partnership with UBC Sustainability Scholars program for local biofuel research

    The District of Central Saanich is partnering with a Master’s student from UBC’s Sustainability Scholars program to conduct research into the local context for biofuel generation from municipal organic waste streams. The scholar, who will be mentored by the Climate Action Specialist with support from our Public Works and Planning departments, will work virtually from May to August to research potential technologies, processes, and best practices to help us advance climate action related to waste diversion and renewable energy through the application of circular economy processes.


    Leveling up our buildings with Step Code

    As of January 4, 2021, Central Saanich has moved to Level 3 of the BC Energy Step Code for (most) new home construction! The Step Code is an initiative to increase the energy efficiency of new construction in the province beyond the requirements of the BC Building Code – for example, Level 3 requires new homes achieve energy efficiency performance levels of 20% better than the Building Code.

    Don’t forget that Central Saanich and the province offer rebates to help finance high-efficiency projects! We have authorized building permit rebates for construction that exceeds our current Step Code level and a $500 Blower Door rebate for projects building to Step Code and completing a mid-construction blower door test. At the provincial level, CleanBC offers rebates through the Better Homes New Construction Program for residential buildings and the Better Buildings program for commercial buildings.


    Go By Bike Week 2021

    Check your tires and mark your calendars, folks – Go By Bike Week is coming up! From May 31 to June 6, get out of your car and onto your bike to soak in some sunshine while reducing your carbon footprint. Same as 2020, the event has been re-branded to Go By Bike Week, meaning any & all trips by bike count towards the goal – not just trips to and from work. Did you know that since the start of the pandemic, more folks in Central Saanich are biking for recreation? Start getting your team together now and look forward to great prizes, the Sticker Challenge, Neighbourhood Rides, and more!


    Nearby Active Transportation planning

    Regional collaboration is key for active transportation planning, and while our staff works actively with other municipalities through the CRD Inter-Municipal Working Group on Climate and other collaborations, it’s just as critical that residents support neighbouring municipalities in their goals, too.


    Plan a beautiful yard that supports climate resilience & biodiversity

    Gardening is a great way to help increase local climate resilience through local food security, green infrastructure services (like absorbing run-off), and creating landscapes that support local pollinators. This year, enjoy a climate-friendly yard!

    Central Saanich is already experiencing warmer summers, and these are anticipated to be hotter and drier in future. Save water – and money on your utility bills! – by choosing water-efficient species and making good use of mulch. Water-wise, or “xeriscaping”, landscaping considers the natural conditions of the environment, with a focus on native and drought-tolerant species. Don’t think this limits you to rock gardens and succulents, though – water-wise gardens can be lush, colourful, and biodiverse!

    Try to keep lawn spaces small and select drought-tolerant grass mixes and clover. Water lawns sparingly, and do so early in the morning or in the evening to reduce evaporation. Lots more great tips in the CRD’s Homeowner’s Guide to Outdoor Water Use.

    Choosing native species (and avoiding invasive species at all costs!) also helps our native pollinators like bees and butterflies, whose populations are crucial for the long-term health of our local agricultural lands. Avoid pesticides and harsh, GHG-intensive fertilizers and instead make use of natural soil enhancements - like compost, kelp, and coffee grounds - and permaculture techniques that recreate natural ecosystems to keep pests under control.

    Check out more tips from Habitat Acquisition Trust in their Gardening with Native Plants guide or join a free virtual workshop on Gardening with Native Plants during April!




  • Winter 2021 Update

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    Reach your goals and help Central Saanich meet our climate goals!

    Do you have a New Year’s resolution to stay healthy or improve your health and wellbeing? If so, your goal aligns well with the District’s climate action goals.

    While only 21% of all trips in the District are taken sustainably by active transportation and transit right now, were aiming for 50% by 2050! What trips could you do by foot, bike or bus this year?

    Transportation accounts for two thirds of our total community GHG emissions, and driving is by far the biggest contributor. During the pandemic, more of us have been learning & working from home, hitting the trails for exercise and fresh air, and travelling less to do our part to flatten the curve. In 2021, let’s continue some of these habits by committing to driving less and using active transit more to create climate-resilient, equitable, and healthy communities!

    A great place to start is by registering for Winter Go by Bike Day at https://gobybikebc.ca. On Friday, February 12, 2021, enjoy the first scents of spring on your bike, then log your ride online to be eligible for the chance to win great prizes!

    Council highlights climate action as a priority

    Central Saanich Council recently met to identify priorities for the remainder of the Council term. The 2021-2022 Priorities are:

    • Invest in Road Safety, Transit and Safe, Accessible Active Transportation
    • Invest in Climate Action and a Healthy Environment
    • Focus on Strong Local Economy and Supporting Agriculture
    • Manage Responsible Growth

    These priorities influence the focus of the District staff and Council and determine the major projects for the coming two years.

    Comment on the Draft Tree Protection Bylaw

    Trees and ecosystems are vital to long-term climate resilience. We have drafted a new Tree Management Bylaw that would see stronger protection of permit trees and include replacement measures for trees that are removed. Please see LetsTalkCentralSaanich.ca/TreeBylaw to review the highlights and offer feedback.

    • Register for a virtual open house: Thursday, January 28 or Saturday, January 30, from 10 am to 11 am.

    Draft Active Transportation Plan to be shared for comment in February

    We are looking forward to sharing the draft of the District’s first Action Transportation Plan soon. The draft plan will be presented to the community for feedback on LetsTalkCentralSaanich.ca/ActiveTransportation before being presented to Council. The plan will guide our investment in key projects and support us in applying for grants to start building a connected network that enables more biking and walking in Central Saanich. (Completing the plan hasn’t stopped us on pursing opportunities; in the past few months, the District has applied for grants that would enable five major active transportation projects.)

    Free Webinar: Are you Considering a Heat Pump? ~ by Bring It Home 4 Climate Program

    Heat pumps are the most efficient and climate-friendly heating and cooling system on the market today. Join friends and neighbours in this interactive webinar and learn what a heat pump is, the environmental & financial benefits of heat pumps, how to find a program registered contractor, and what rebates, financing offers and supports are available to help you upgrade your heating system.

    • Time: Tuesday, February 09, 2021 at 12 -1pm PST open to everyone!
    • Space is limited so make sure to register early! Register Here

    A recorded version of the webinar will be made available soon for those that are unable to attended the live webinar. Please register for the live webinar or to receive the recording.

    Double the Rebates offer extended!

    To meet our climate goals related to greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy, Central Saanich is targeting a 100% conversion of oil heated homes to electric heat pumps by 2030. We align with the region and province on this goal – and happily, this translates to financial support!

    In response to both the pandemic and significant interest province wide, CleanBC Better Homes is extending their “Double the Rebate” offer by three months. If your home is heated by natural gas, propane, or oil and you are interested in switching to an electric heat pump or heat pump water heater, you could be eligible! Register for a promo code by March 31, 2021 to receive up to $6,000 in rebates. Your upgrades must be completed and invoiced by June 30, 2021.

    Learn more at https://betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/double-the-rebate/.

    Receive a Free Virtual Home Energy Check-Up

    Central Saanich is proud to partner with the CRD on the Bring It Home 4 the Climate program. Visit bringithome4climate.ca to learn more, and register to get access to:

    • Free Virtual Home Energy Check-Up
      • Kick-start your home energy improvement and climate-friendly home action plan and get expert advice online by phone or video call.
      • The Free Virtual Home Energy Check-Up is designed to help you think about your personal or household goals and motivations for improving your home, and help identify any issues or concerns which could be solved by completing home energy improvements.
      • Covid-safe virtual format
    • EnerGuide Home Evaluation Subsidies
    • Free Educational Workshops and Special Offers
    • Success studies from folks all over southern Vancouver Island

    Plus, along with all CRD residents, access to the Free CleanBC Energy Coach Service and online resources.

  • Get Plugged in to our E-Vehicle and E-Bike Strategy

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    The District has developed an Electric Vehicle (EV) and Electric-Bike Strategy that outlines ways to help achieve our goal of seeing more low emission transportation within the District.

    Action items include adding more public Level 2 chargers in the community, adopting requirement for new construction to ensure redient access to at home charging, publically promoting incentives for installing EV chargers, implementing Central Saanich's Active Transportation Plan, when finalized, and further developing the District's EV education and outreach, amongst others.

  • Draft Electric Vehicle and Electric Bike Strategy goes to Council Sept 14

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    Draft Electric Vehicle and Electric Bike Strategy Goes to Council Sept 14

    The District’s draft and E-Bike Strategy outlines ways to encourage more low-emission transportation within the District. The strategy will be presented to Council on Monday, September 14, at 7 pm during the (virtual) Council meeting, which can be watched here.

    The strategy was developed in consultation with the District’s EV and E-Bike Strategy Committee, which was comprised of residents and those with expertise in the field. We thank the committee members for volunteering their time to assist with this important work.

    If you have comments on the draft strategy, you are welcome to contact Council. Questions about the strategy can be directed to the Climate Action Specialist.

  • Climate Leadership Plan updated with Accelerated Targets

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    Central Saanich's updated Climate Leadership Plan, which was just released, includes accelerated targets adopted by Council in late 2019. These updated targets are in alignment with the latest recommendation to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C, set by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Central Saanich climate targets are to reduce community emissions by 45% by 2030 over 2007 levels and become a carbon neutral community by 2050. You can read about the actions the District is taking here.

    The plan was originally published in 2018 and outlines paths for achieving the climate targets as well as a variety of actions the municipality can take to reduce the community's greenhouse gas emissions as well as those from the District's operations.

    The action areas are:

    • Transportation and Land Use
    • Buildings
    • Solid Water
    • Municipal Operations
    • Adaptation to Climate Change

    A total of 23 actions are included under these areas, and the climate action work of the municipality is not limited to these items.

    Implementation will involve a commitment of resources to plan, develop and oversee actions while also staying abreast of leading practices, opportunities and funding. With renewed senior government focus on climate action, support may be available for partial funding of municipal staff positions that support implementation. The District continues to focus on applying for grants to support climate action related infrastructure and programs while also utilizing the District's Climate Leadership Reserve Fund to fund new projects.

    The District annually reports to the Province on climate action activities undertaken in relation to community-scale and municipal operations through the CARIP report. The District will also publish the measurements identified in the updated Climate Leadership Plan with all available data in the District's Financial Plan, Annual Report, and Mid Year Report.

    Wondering how you can help achieve our community goal?

    Find out what you can do to reduce your GHGs by using the carbon calculator and checking out the transportation rebates, home rebates, and more ideas at centralsaanich.ca/whatyoucando.

    Read the plan

    The plan and resources are available to review here.

  • Summer 2020 Update

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    Central Saanich increases incentives for heat pumps!

    Heat pumps provide a clean alternative to natural gas, oil or wood heating that can reduce your space heating carbon footprint by over 90%. As of January 2020, Central Saanich is offering an additional $350 rebate for Central Saanich residents who switch from a fossil fuel-powered (oil, natural gas, or propane) heating system to an electric air-source heat pump. That brings the total rebates available to Central Saanich residents to up to $4,200! Incentives will be approved on a first come first serve basis, while quantities last. Learn more about rebates for home efficiency at CSaanich.ca/HomeRebates.

    BC Hydro Rebates for electric vehicle chargers

    If you are installing electric vehicle chargers at your condo, apartment or business you can apply for a rebate of up to $2000 per charging station. If you are installing a charger at your home (single-family, townhouse, or duplex) you can apply for a rebate of $350 to purchase and install. Once preapproved, all work must be completed, and applications submitted within 90 days after the installation of the charging station, or by February 28, 2021, whichever comes first.

    Central Saanich Electric Vehicle and Electric Bike Strategy

    The District is half way through a committee consultation process for the development of the District’s Electric Vehicle (EV) and Electric-Bike Strategy. The Strategy will recommend action items to help achieve the Districts Climate Leadership goals of seeing more low-emission transportation within the District.

    Meet an EV Committee Member:

    After purchasing an Electric Vehicle in January ’20 and installing a Level 2 charger, I began looking for ways to reduce my overall electrical consumption. My first thought was to install solar panels on my roof, then discussion with some members of the Victoria EV Club got me considering instead the value of a heat pump. I eventually opted for the heat pump because it provided more benefits and would be a more acceptable addition for potential buyers for when, in the future, I decide to sell this house.

    - Mike Baker, Brentwood Bay, EV Committee Member

    Transitioning to an Electric Light-Duty Fleet and Equipment

    The District is committed to leading by example to reduce emissions generated by its own transportation and maintenance operations.

    In the last year, the District conducted a review of the municipal fleet and right-sized the light-duty vehicles so that they are appropriately sized to the jobs they are used for. Since conducting the review, the District introduced three new fully electric Kia Souls to the fleet and retired the fossil fuel vehicles they replaced. This summer, the District purchased an electric bicycle for Public Works staff to use as a healthy and environmentally-friendly transportation method for road and sidewalk inspections as well as for water metering. The District has also investigated a number of low carbon maintenance technologies and has purchased an electric chainsaw, hedge trimmer, and leaf blower after a successful trial of this equipment last summer.

    Did you know? The new electric vehicles have already mitigated over three tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (over 1250 litres of gasoline fuel) since they hit the road last November!

    One Year Anniversary of Solar Install on Fire Station 1

    We are celebrating the one year anniversary of installing 360 solar panels on the roof of Central Saanich’s Fire Station 1! The station is now a shining example of cost-effective renewable energy and has generated enough electricity in its one year of operation to power 12 households! Check out our project video!


  • April 2020 update

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    Due to the current pandemic, some Climate Action events have had to be postponed in to keep the community safe through physical distancing, including our community celebration for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. See here for suggestions on how you can celebrate earth day at home.

    Despite these changes, all climate action projects that can be accomplished from a distance are moving forwards. Staff are also leveraging this opportunity as much as possible to ensure any projects that require physical contact are ‘shovel ready’ for when it is safe for regular operations to resume.

    Climate projects underway include:

    Electric Vehicle (EV) and Electric Bike (E-Bike) Strategy

    Applications to be a part of the EV and E-Bike Strategy Committee have now closed. Council will be selecting committee members and considering options for committee meetings that will comply with the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer.

    Corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting

    Staff have completed a 2019 inventory of greenhouse gas emissions from corporate municipal operations. This CARIP report for the province outlines our actions taken in 2019 to reduce both corporate and community-wide emissions. The report is posted here.

    Saanichton Bike and Ride

    Thanks to the efforts of the Saanichton Village Association, construction of a Bike and Ride facility on municipal property at 1945 Mt Newton Cross Road, east of the Fresh Cup Roastery Café parking lot, will begin this summer. This facility will provide a place for residents to park their bikes before riding transit or visiting Saanichton village and will include benches, bike shelters, bike parking spaces, secure lockers, a repair station, and more. Saanichton Village Association is the leader and fundraiser on this project; the District has partnered to make this great initiative a reality.

    Transitions 2050

    We are collaborating with other municipalities to accelerate home energy efficiency upgrades. The Transitions 2050 Program brings Central Saanich staff together with other Capital Regional District municipalities and partners to develop a pilot project that will supply homeowners with personalized recommendations and resources for home energy efficiency projects at low or no cost. In light of the pandemic, staff are collaborating on options to ensure this program is in compliance with current safety measures.

    The pandemic has brought our community closer and shown us that collective action is possible. For Earth Day 2020, today, we ask you to think about a change you could make for the long term, like riding your bike or growing more fruits and vegetables at home.

  • Coming Soon! EV and E-bike Strategy

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    Staff are developing an EV and E-Bike Strategy for the District of Central Saanich. The strategy will lay out an action plan to meet the District’s target of seeing 4,800 electric vehicles (EVs) in Central Saanich within the next 10 years. A committee of well-informed community members and external stakeholders from the EV industry will provide recommendations on the draft EV and E-bike Strategy before it is presented to Council and the community later this year. The strategy will map out a path for Central Saanich to reach its recently adopted new climate action targets, which includes a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (compared to 2007); these targets are consistent with the recommendations of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    The work will look at building requirements for charging and public charging infrastructure.

    Currently, all development applications that are approved by Council are required to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure.


  • Local Students Take Climate Action Challenge

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    The District of Central Saanich congratulates the 118 local students who recently completed the Cool It! Climate Leadership Training Program. The students committed to many energy saving actions over the program’s four-week period, and their actions at home result in a projected annual savings of 32 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

    The Cool it! challenge was offered to grade 4-7 classes in Central Saanich this fall to help educate, inspire and create eco-friendly habits. It was sponsored by the District of Central Saanich and delivered by the BC Sustainable Energy Association. Five classes took part, and the 118 students (and their families) were encouraged to take action in every area in their life, from their food choices, to their transport, home heating behaviours, consumption and waste.

    A few energy-saving and eco-friendly ideas from Cool It! students

    • “I helped organize a battery, styrofoam and metal recycling program.”
    • “Use containers for snacks instead of wrappers and plastic bags.”
    • “Have a digital device-free day.”
    • “Do not use plastic when shopping for food, clothes or any packaged items. Bring your own containers and reusable bags when shopping.”
    • “Join the shoreline cleanup and clean up the beach.”
    • “Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.”
    • “I think people should get electric cars because they produce less CO2”

    Cool it! brings Environmental Educators into classrooms to deliver a fun-filled, thought provoking and empowering program that engages students on climate change and energy conservation. During the workshops, the students are engaged with discussions and activities. After discussing their understanding, concerns and current actions on climate change and brainstorming ways to reduce their own impact, the students work at home on the Climate Leadership Challenge contest and work at home with their families to reduce their household greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

    The District plans to offer the program to more Central Saanich classes this year as part of its climate action work.

    Congratulations Ms. White’s class!

    Central Saanich congratulates Ms. Whites grade 7 class at Bayside Middle School for winning the British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association’s Cool It! Challenge. Through their participation in the contest, the class projected to reduce an estimated 14.593 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The class chose to have a seed planting party to celebrate their hard work. Top achieving students were also awarded with environmental books. Mayor Ryan Windsor and Councillor Gordon Newton joined School District 63 leadership to congratulate Ms. White's class!