The Interior Health Authority is pushing for more action on climate change.

The Interior Health Authority is pushing for more action on climate change.

Climate change response questioned

IHA presented Vernon council with the links between climate change and health

There are calls for local communities to fight climate change head on, but a Vernon politician is frustrated with that approach.

On Tuesday, the Interior Health Authority presented Vernon council with the links between climate change and health, and the need to take action.

However, Coun. Juliette Cunningham insists communities can’t do it alone.

“We need co-operation and investment from senior levels of government,” she said, adding that Ottawa and Victoria need to promote issues such as alternate energy sources.

“We (municipalities) can’t be expected to solve all of the issues that come along. We have limited resources.”

Cunningham also pointed out that communities attempt to protect their watersheds, but provincial policies interfere with that goal.

“We have to allow recreation to co-exist within watersheds. Recreation should be No. 1 and recreation way down there,” she said.

During the presentation, IHA made the case for municipalities to minimize the influence of climate change.

“Local governments have the responsibility to protect their citizens,” said Dr. Sue Pollock, medical health officer.

Pollock insists there are several strategies communities can follow, including land use planning, building regulations, infrastructure and watershed and air quality planning.

IHA also wants municipalities to promote active transportation and local agriculture.

“We are reaching out to local government to find out what they are doing with climate change and how we can support them,” said Pollock.

In terms of Cunningham’s concerns, Pollock says IHA provides the provincial government with information that will hopefully shape policy.

“We are trying to advocate and have that voice,” said Pollock.

Council also heard from other IHA representatives on the need for residents to access the natural environment and enhanced infrastructure to support cycling and walking networks.

IHA also wants the City of Vernon to support policies that promote l