Regional Districts of East Kootenay (RDEK), Central Kootenay (RDCK), and Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) have won a 2020 Sustainable Communities Award for their Accelerate Kootenays project.

The RDEK said the Visionary Award it, the RDCK and RDKB won honours innovative environmental initiatives in communities across Canada.

“Accelerate Kootenays is Canada’s first community-driven, collaborative strategy to build a clean transportation network. It was a 2-year, $1.5-million initiative of the Regional Districts of East Kootenay, Central Kootenay and Kootenay Boundary with support from Columbia Basin Trust, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Teck, the Province of BC, FortisBC, BC Hydro, and Powertech Labs,” said the RDEK.

The award winners were announced on Monday, September 14th.

“As a small rural area in British Columbia, we are proud of the meaningful impact Accelerate Kootenays will have on reducing our carbon footprint. This project is an example of innovation and partnership and it is an honour to see it recognized at the national level,” said Rob Gay, Chair of the Regional District of East Kootenay.

The project created an electric vehicle (EV) charging station network to make travel to and within southeastern B.C. convenient and reliable for EVs.

“Local solutions—scaled up—deliver major national impact, like economic growth and the emission reductions Canada needs to meet its climate change goals. Whether it is through improved energy efficiency, fewer greenhouse gas emissions or stronger local infrastructure, local governments get the job done efficiently and cost-effectively because they connect solutions to local needs and local realities. This year’s FCM Sustainable Communities Award winners embody those principles of sustainability and collaboration. Moreover, they exemplify how municipal innovation can have concrete impacts and deliver for Canadians,” said Bill Karsten, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

The RDEK said the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) chose just 11 communities for their efforts in one of nine categories: asset management, brownfields, climate change, energy, neighbourhoods, transportation, waste, water and a new category in honour of the Green Municipal Fund’s 20th anniversary.

On October 20th to 22nd, winners will each deliver a TED-talk style presentation at the FCM’s virtual Sustainable Communities Conference.

Following the conference, each participant will also be eligible for the Inspire Award, given to the most creative and innovative project.

Winners of the various categories include:

  • City of Vernon – Asset Management.
  • City of Montreal – Brownfields.
  • City of Campbell River – Climate Change.
  • Town of Raymond – Energy.
  • City of Edmonton – Neighbourhoods.
  • Region of Waterloo, Ontario and Town of Cochrane, Alberta (co-winners) – Transportation.
  • Town of Canmore – Waste Management.
  • Corporation of Loyalist Township – Water.
  • Regional Districts of Central Kootenay, East Kootenay, and Kootenay Boundary – Visionary Award.

More details on each of the winners and their projects can be found here.