OVER THE LAST THREE MONTHS, Kamloops’ newly elected council has been going through a rigorous orientation that has included nearly 50 hours of facility tours, education sessions, meetings with directors and, of course, our strategic planning session.
Staff have told us that, due to our topography, our water, sewer and drainage systems are among the most complex in North America, rivalled only by San Francisco.
That got me thinking: if we statistically know this to be true about our water and sewer systems, could it also be true for our transportation network?
After a little digging and help from city staff, I was able to obtain data on the number of vehicles insured in Kamloops.
Looking more closely at the numbers, we have only 57 electric cars and 460 hybrid cars in the entire city.I believe a transportation network is not just about cars and roads. It includes public transit, cycling and walking. We know that from a strictly environmental point of view, we need to move in the direction of more green alternatives for transportation.
Will everyone in Kamloops suddenly start riding their bikes or taking the bus to work every day?
Is there a portion of the population that is close to making a change from a personal car, truck, van or SUV to another form of transportation?
Will everyone in Kamloops switch to a hybrid or electric car in the next five years?
Is there a large portion of people who want to make the switch, but cannot afford it?
We need to think about how we can get people to reduce their dependency on the automobile, how we can we get more people using public transit, how we can get more hybrids and electric vehicles in Kamloops and how we can help connect communities so it is easier and safer for people to commute.
While we will always have a need for cars in Kamloops, a big decision that needs to be made is whether we take a carrot or stick approach to convince people to make the transition to a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation.
That will be up to council to wrestle with, but I prefer the carrot approach.
I believe we can get to a greener Kamloops by working together and exploring all the options and opportunities.
Mike O’Reilly is a Kamloops City councillor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.