Beautiful Gibson’s, BC, has been named ‘the best place in the world to live,’ (for communities with fewer than 20,000 residents) by the International Awards for Liveable Communities. The award program is endorsed by the United Nations.

Gibsons’ commitment to healthy living and environmental sustainability were some of the qualities recognized when the award was bestowed. Located on BC’s Sunshine coast – a 40-minute ferry ride northwest of Vancouver – Gibson’s is already recognized by locals and visitors alike for its stunning scenery and location.

However beautiful the city, the community still faces challenges. The latest round of municipal elections highlighted the divide amongst those who want to increase development in the area, and those who would prefer to slow it down. Further hillside condo construction and harbour re-development are some of the issues causing a heated debate. Environmentalists are concerned that a lack of careful planning could signal the end of what makes Gibsons such a special and sustainable community.

A geothermal plant to provide energy for residents is already in the works, and is an example of how sustainable development and climate change adaptation techniques can exist in a co-beneficial way. The de-centralization of energy from main power grids will increase the resilience and adaptive capacity of smaller communities like Gibsons, against the impacts of climate change like extreme weather events.

ACT will be kicking off its Energy session this coming November, and will be exploring the challenges and opportunities that communities like Gibsons faces in the light of climate change impacts and economic stresses, as pressure to reduce emissions increases.