Climate Update #18 - Calgary Community Standards
Like all departments across the corporation, Calgary Community Standards has several service lines that play a significant role in advancing the Calgary Climate Resilience Strategy. A few of these service lines include:
- Bylaw Education & Compliance (eg. waste and hazardous materials management)
- Business Licensing
- Taxi, Limousine and Vehicle-for-Hire
- Pet Ownership and Licensing
- Emergency Management & Business Continuity (see Calgary Emergency Management Agency Blog #3)
To some degree, it is clear that Calgary Community Standards has an interest in climate-friendly initiatives, but taking their ideas to the next level is something that they struggle with. We will delve further into this in the sections below.
- Partnerships with other City departments – Encampment clean ups require a strong partnership between Parks and Bylaw. The Partner Agency Liaison (PAL team) work focuses on helping encampment occupants connect with social services, but cleaning up these sites also minimizes the negative environmental impact that encampments have across the city.
- Responsible Pet Ownership - Environmental considerations are incorporated into Calgary Community Standards reports, including the recent Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw report that started increasing fines for dog waste and through the Off Leash Ambassador program, citizens become educated about the importance of cleaning up after their dog’s waste due to the risk of water contamination and the spread of parasites.
- Emergency Management & Business Continuity participates in the Calgary Climate Panel, which acts as an independent voice providing advice on climate strategy opportunities, risks, and policy options.
- Taxi, Limousine and Vehicle-for-Hire has supported initiatives that encourage fuel efficient vehicles and, for the last three years, 35 per cent of taxi fleets have been made up of hybrid vehicles.
- Reducing idling has been a priority, with ongoing communication to staff on the environmental impact and tips on how to decrease vehicle idling.
- Vehicles used by community peace officers that are due for life cycle replacement are being replaced with hybrid models.
- Naturalized Yards – There is an understanding that an “untidy, unkept” yard does not necessarily warrant an untidy property charge under the bylaw. There is a different between untidy, and a naturalized yard.
What’s not working?
- Calgary Community Standards may have more frequent idling compared to other fleet vehicles, as specialty vehicles must be temperature controlled for the health and safety of animals retrieved by community peace officers. Replacing vehicles with more hybrids would be one way to address this issue. Also, the 2004 Idling policy for City vehicles not consistently followed.
- Taxi, limousine, and vehicle-for-hire drivers are independent contractors that need to balance fuel efficiency with other operational needs such as cost, maintenance, and size of vehicle, which may impact their decision to use hybrid or electric vehicles. They don’t necessarily understand the long-term investment. Community Standards could do more to make the switch to electric or hybrids more attractive such as offering free charging stations. Many cities require a transition to greener vehicles.
- Consulting regularly with climate experts – Community Standards should be frequently engaging with experts to assess how their services have positive or negative effects on climate change. The department has a lot of great ideas (gas-powered leaf blowers, two-stroke engines, or mandatory livery transport conversion to hybrid vehicles) but they still seem to be in the conceptualization stage. While The City cannot mandate greener vehicles for the Airport, as the Airport vehicles do not fall under a City of Calgary contract, public pressure would be helpful in this area.
Calgary Community Standards can still look at opportunities to make big changes in their business unit. For instance, they could consider decreasing emissions through route optimization. This could mean smaller zones for officers and right-sized vehicles.
Taxi, Limousine and Vehicle-for-Hire is committed to working with the industry to create awareness and promote fuel efficient and hybrid vehicles.
Calgary Community Standards will continue to evaluate service delivery and projects with a climate lens to further advance the Climate Resilience Strategy.