Passenger Vehicle Transportation accounts for the largest share of green house gas emissions here in Nelson at 59% of total emissions (2018).
Businesses can help move the needle in the right direction by encouraging their employees to commute to work by walking or riding their bikes, using public transportation and/or car-pooling. With the current price of gas, all these options end up saving employees their hard earned money and the active transportation methods improve mood and physical fitness.
Walking & Biking Into Work
Both walking and biking are more than just recreational activities. As modes of transportation, they have many benefits including reducing emissions, saving money on fuel, and improving physical and mental health.
Encouraging employees to use active transportation to commute to work is a low-cost and low-barrier way to reduce emissions here in Nelson. Finding a way to incentivize this behaviour can be a great way to get more buy-in among staff.
In June 2021, a secure bike parking facility was created at the Nelson parkade. Employees must register at City Hall to receive a key fob to access the facility and there is currently a waitlist, so they should be encouraged to register as soon as possible.
Third Street & High Street Bike Route connects Fairview and Lakeside Park with downtown. Cyclists have the right to be in the middle of the lane along this corridor, speed limits have been reduced and traffic patterns have been altered in a way to protect cyclists. For employees living along the bike route, this would be an excellent way to commute get to work.
How to offer bike infrastructure to your employees:
- Make space for a secure bike storage room inside your building.
- Provide a bike rack outside for your employees.
- Partner with a neighbour to provide bicycle storage if you do not have space.
The E-Bike program provides low-interest financing for Nelson homeowners who would like to purchase a commuter bike including electric bikes, do-it-yourself conversion kits, non-electric bikes and accessories that are related to safety and commuting.
To access this program, you must be a resident of the City of Nelson who owns their own home. Unfortunately, the program is not yet available to those who rent.
The maximum loan amount is $8,000.00 per household and participants are able to choose an amortization period of two or five years, with an interest rate of 3.5% (subject to change each year). The loan is applied monthly on the home owner’s Nelson Hydro electric bill and repaid over the term of the loan.
Participants are encouraged to shop locally:
- The Sacred Ride – 213 Baker Street (Offering 15% off bike accessories)
- Gerick Cycle & Ski – 702 Baker Street (Offering 15% off bike accessories)
- Pedago Nelson – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Boomtown Sports – 510 Hall Street
Electrify Your Commercial Fleet
Electrifying your commercial fleet is a great option for businesses to reduce their carbon emissions while also saving money on fuel costs. Rebates exists that help cover the cost of purchasing electric vehicles of different kinds (including cargo e-bikes), as well as EV chargers publicly available outside of your business.
- Accelerate Kootenays 2.0: The Accelerate Kootenays 2.0 funding program is intended to diversify the places and spaces where EV drivers can access charging. This program is therefore open to private businesses as well as public and non-profit organizations, local governments and Indigenous local governments. Funding through this program is provided as a reimbursement.
- CleanBC Go Electric – Fleets & Organizations: Businesses and other organizations such as non-profits and public sector organizations may apply for rebates on zero-emission motorcycles, low-speed vehicles, on road Medium- and Heavy-Duty vehicles, and utility vehicles.
Public transportation is another great option for those employees who live outside of walking or biking distance from town. Encouraging your staff to use public transportation can help them save money while also reducing their carbon footprint.
Ways to Encourage Use of Public Transport:
- Offer some money to go towards a portion of the cost for a monthly public transportation cost.
Car-Pool To Work
Where walking, biking or taking public transport is not feasible. Another good option is to encourage employees to carpool to work. This option reduces greenhouse gas emissions by taking some vehicles off the road and can help employees save money while reducing their carbon footprint.
Ways to Encourage Carpooling to Work:
- Create a spreadsheet to put employees interested in carpooling in touch so that they are able to self-organize.
Promote Climate Conscious Transportation
- Campaigns – Earth Day, Earth Week, Earth Month or Sustainability oriented campaigns where everyone commutes to work using a climate conscious method of transportation.
- Incentives – Monthly or Quarterly recognition of employee who most often commuted to work using a climate conscious transportation method.
- Provide Infrastructure – Secure bike storage, bike racks and subsidized public transportation.
The Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce Business and Climate Advisor Program is presented in partnership with The Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership and supported by Nelson & District Credit Union.
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