Climate change action focus of Argentina trip

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City officials are travelling to Argentina to help raise Fort St. John’s profile in the international community as a city taking proactive steps to address energy and environmental concerns.

City Councillors Lori Ackerman and Bruce Christensen along with City Manager Dianne Hunter and Director of Planning and Engineering Horatio Galanti are leaving Friday for an 11-day trip to several communities in northwest Argentina.

The Argentine communities being visited all rely heavily on the mining industry as they surround the Xstrata mine, says Councillor Ackerman, adding that the cities are all similar in size to Fort St. John.

Ackerman says the idea of the trip is to show how Fort St. John has been adapting to federal, provincial and its own municipal policies in regards to climate change. The information exchange involves taking data on various local businesses that use and provide environmental or energy saving products to show their municipal counterparts in the Argentine cities.

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During their time there, Fort St. John city officials will also be able to view any strategies the communities have in place to address climate change and whether they can be implemented in the city.

Ackerman says learning what other areas are doing to decrease their carbon footprint could help reduce the City’s, which would be beneficial once the B.C. Climate Change Charter comes into effect in 2012.

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Once the Charter comes into effect, any payments the City has to make could negatively affect its budget.

Ackerman says the City has already taken numerous steps to limit its greenhouse gas emissions, including the implementation of the water metre program.

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Ackerman stresses that the City is only paying for travel costs associated with getting to and from Argentina. Once there, she says the City’s four delegates are being hosted by people in the communities.

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