Mining town of Trail, BC says “YES!” to 100% renewable energy transition

By: Montana Burgess (c) 2022

On April 25th, 2022, The City Council in Trail, B.C., home of one of the largest zinc and lead smelters in the world, unanimously voted to transition the community to 100% renewable energy no later than 2050. Trail, BC is now the 13th community in the Kootenays to commit to a healthy, safe, and secure community powered by clean and renewable energy. 

This momentum in Trail can give us all hope. From the Trail’s active transportation plan to making energy-efficient upgrades to city infrastructure — the energy transition is already happening, even in Canadian small towns. Saying yes to transition to 100% renewable energy just makes sense. 

Going door to door in Trail, BC.

The West Kootenay EcoSociety/Neighbours United and their executive director, Montana Burgess, winners of recent Clean50 2022 Top Project and Emerging Leader awards respectively, worked across the community of Trail over the past couple of years by knocking on doors and calling residents on their phones to talk about climate change and the clean energy transition. Through 1181 conversations, they identified over 1000 residents in Trail who were supportive of Trail transitioning to 100% renewable energy across all community-energy uses, including heating & cooling, transportation, electricity, and waste management, no later than 2050.

The 75 volunteer-member program team heard over and over that people were already feeling the impacts of climate change. Residents were worried about their families and neighbours staying healthy and safe from wildfire smoke, strong winds, floods, landslides and extreme heat. They were ready for a real solution they could support right in their community. The team presented to the Trail City Council in March and the Council heard their residents and voted unanimously to transition to 100% renewable energy no later than 2050.

Trail joins the communities in southeastern B.C. of Castlegar, Creston, Fruitvale, Golden, Kaslo, Nelson, New Denver, Rossland, Silverton, Slocan, Warfield, Regional District of Central Kootenay to work to achieve 100% clean energy across their all energy use sectors.

West Kootenay EcoSociety / Neighbours United has reached out through tens of thousands of one-on-one conversations, and educated residents and businesses in these communities over the past six years, helping to grow a strong network of 100% renewable energy champions across the region. They also collaborated with local governments in 2019-2020 to develop the West Kootenay 100% Renewable Energy Plan

Transitioning to 100% renewable energy is the common-sense approach to protecting everyone against the climate impacts already being felt in the region, while creating a healthy community, with good paying jobs. The Trail City Council has instructed its staff to collaborate with the regional local government working group to develop a transition plan by March 15, 2023.

Montana and her team are looking forward to working with the city, residents and businesses to keep moving on the 100% renewable energy transition and bringing in even more communities to work together across rural and small town B.C. No matter what industry drives your community, we need to work together as communities to transition to clean and 100% renewable energy to keep our communities healthy and strong.

Montana and her team with their Clean50 Top Project Award