Letter from the Future
I’m writing this to you as I watch the spring rains that have been pouring out of the sky for the last three days. This is pretty normal for this time of year, but I find myself thinking about how, 22 years ago when I was a kid, this kind of weather seemed so unusual.
I remember waking up one May day in 2017 to find our house surrounded by water while my parents were trying to keep it out of our basement. The news that night said the flooding was a “once in a 200-year event.” These days, though, it seems like we’re getting these kinds of major weather events every few years. Our winters are shorter with less snow, and followed by incredibly wet springs with hotter, drier summers and more wildfires and pest problems than before.
But thankfully, a lot of improvements have been made over the last 20 years and we’re better able to cope with them.
One of the noticeable shifts is how we use our land. Much of Kelowna’s growth over the last 20 years has been concentrated in our five urban centres. This has created compact neighbourhoods with great mixes of residential, commercial and recreation space. People don’t have to travel long distances to go between the places where they live, work, shop and play so it’s a lot easier to get around by walking, biking or transit than it was when I was a kid. We’ve managed to accommodate the addition of almost 50,000 people while preserving natural areas that may have otherwise been used for houses. And that means those areas are still absorbing carbon, providing critical habitat for at-risk wildlife and contributing to the natural splendor that Kelowna is known for.
While many of the changes Kelowna has made are mitigating the effects of climate change, change is still happening. The changes that have come along with this growth happened over time, but as I stand here today I know that Kelowna is more vibrant, more diverse and has more opportunities than ever before. I am grateful that back in 2018, the community committed to a Climate Action Plan that set us on this course to be resilient and responsive to a changing climate with a goal to preserve our quality of life, now and for future generations.
City of Kelowna
Our Kelowna as We Take Action
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