Building the Kootenays Back Better 

In recent months, British Columbians have come together to face an unprecedented health crisis. Now is the time to come together to look forward and decide on the future we need.

As governments begin providing economic relief and helping businesses reopen safely, the province’s COVID-19 economic stimulus investments can provide the opportunity to build our future back better. The impacts of these investments will be far reaching: the kind of industries, jobs and infrastructure works that are supported will shape our society, our economy and our environment for decades ahead. They will determine our capacity to address future threats to our health and the health of the planet. 

British Columbians have a choice: build to the status quo, continuing down the road to climate disaster and a biodiversity crisis, or take the opportunity to build back better. We can direct economic stimulus towards the creation of jobs, businesses and infrastructure that enhance our well-being and protect the ecosystems we depend on. We can make sure that everyone shares in the benefits from public investments aimed at improving our communities and restoring the health of our environment.

Wildsight, along with many partner environmental and community organizations, is calling for a sustainable recovery that puts healthy ecosystems, human health, and social justice at the centre. Our recommendations include a long list of economic stimulus opportunities: from renewable energy and building retrofits to ecosystem restoration, protected areas, active transportation, local food security, zero waste and Indigenous rights. 

Some of these opportunities are supported by existing provincial plans, such as CleanBC (British Columbia’s climate action plan) which Premier John Horgan said will be “the foundation” of the province’s economic recovery. Others, such as ecosystem restoration and local food security, need public support to be placed on the agenda. And all of them will need to be adapted to regional and local contexts.

In the coming weeks we will be launching an initiative to discuss a sustainable recovery for the Kootenays. We will provide a space to exchange ideas, organize and take action to ensure our communities are well prepared for the future and no one is left behind.

What would a sustainable recovery look like in the Kootenay Region? 

What kind of investments should be a priority? 

How can we best seize this opportunity to build thriving communities and preserve the wild places we love?

We want to hear from you! We believe citizens and communities must engage in the decision-making process to ensure our economies recover in ways that address our local needs, priorities and values.

Please, look out for our emails, follow us on social media for updates, and get in touch if you want to volunteer. As we continue to care for each other’s health, let’s come together to help our region recover and thrive for the long-run. 

Photo by Pat Morrow