Group urges city to focus on equity when implementing Regina's renewable energy plan
A group of Regina residents concerned about the environment gathered outside city hall on Thursday to discuss findings from a report that show addressing equity is important when implementing renewable energy policies. (Cally Stephanow/CTV Regina)
REGINA -- A group of Regina residents concerned about the environment gathered outside city hall on Thursday to discuss findings from a report that show addressing equity is important when implementing renewable energy policies.
The report, titled Renewable Regina, Putting Equity into Action, calls on the city to implement two committees to look at how the city can achieve its renewable energy goals.
One committee would focus on equity, figuring out how renewable energy will affect people living in marginalized communities.
The second would focus on how employees will be impacted by this change.
"If you don't include equity, two things are going to happen. Either you’re not going to meet your goals… or you have backlash because people perceive these policies as unfair," said Simon Enoch, the director of the Saskatchewan Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The report was created by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, professors from the University of Regina, the Regina Transition House, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2038, and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 588.
The city aims to have operations, facilities and transit fleet using 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.
Emily Eaton, an associate professor of geography and environmental studies at the University of Regina, said people in the city have big expectations about what the renewable energy strategy will bring.
"I think we have a strong movement in Regina of residents who want to see that the motion is implemented in the most robust way possible," Eaton said.
She said people want to see climate change policies that will improve their lives.
“There are many things that we can do, even at the municipal level that will actually benefit all of the citizens in Regina, and won't be perceived as sort of costs to people's lifestyles, but actually net benefits to folks," she said.
The report also asks the city to phase in policies like fare-free public transit, increase green spaces, and improve the safety and accessibility of sidewalks and bike lanes.