Oak Bay Coolkit

Be a Climate Champion in Oak Bay!

The Oak Bay Coolkit program is a joint initiative between the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Faculty of Forestry and the District, and is designed to engage residents on climate-change solutions in the community. 

The Coolkit is intended to mobilize individual and neighbourhood climate action through participation in a series of fun and interactive engagement activities, beginning with neighbourhood conversations, to local asset and climate vulnerability mapping, carbon footprint calculators, household and block sustainability ratings, visioning exercises and developing localized climate action plans. The ultimate goal of the Coolkit Program is to reduce carbon footprints and help create climate proof, resilient neighbourhoods. 

How can I get involved in the Coolkit program? 

The Oak Bay Coolkit program is an ongoing process which includes workshops hosted by the District and UBC to engage, inform, and empower Oak Bay Climate Champions in developing collective climate action projects in their neighborhoods, using Coolkit exercises. Participants typically join in fun indoor/outdoor exercises for visioning their own future and developing neighbourhood climate action plans.

A monthly series of meetings and workshops is provided to inform interested residents on key climate issues and practical solutions, such as tree–planting, home energy improvements, active transportation, electric vehicles etc. These sessions also connect people with other local climate champions, where you can meet Year 1 and Year 2 Oak Bay Climate Champions and share tips on what worked for them. Residents are encouraged to organize their own Coolkit activities and engage neighbourhoods, family and friends in developing local climate action plans and sharing family targets for cutting their carbon footprints.

Visit the Coolkit Project Page

  • An accessible and attractive Coolkit package customized to Oak Bay, available as a DIY resource free to all residents on the Oak Bay website, with a reasonably high media profile across the community
  • District staff from across departments trained in the Coolkit process and involved in community workshops as co-facilitators and/or advisors to champions
  • Program promotion through tree-planting events attended by Council members, staff, & Coolkit champions; support from Oak Bay Neighbourhood Association; media coverage from CBC & local media; and presentation/workshop at ICLEI’s national Livable Cities Forum in Victoria in 2022
  • Well-attended week-end workshops and climate walks, with much collaboration within and between neighbourhood groups, resulting in a network of trained Oak Bay Coolkit champions and multiple local climate action plans.
Who participated?

A total of 46 participants registered for the Oak Bay Coolkit program, representing most Oak Bay neighbourhoods, with 23-25 people attending each of the 3 Workshops (plus District staff, Council members, and other observers). A range of participants took the program, including:

  • Several skilled community leaders/organizers (with different levels of experience)
  • Many who were predisposed towards greener lifestyles
  • Some with previous volunteer experience
  • Neighbours and family members of other participants
  • Members of community organizations
What did participants learn?
  • Improved understanding of the “Big Moves” on climate actions by residents that align with the Oak Bay Climate Action Working Group (CCAWG) recommendations to Council
  • Improved awareness of their individual carbon footprints
  • Recognition of the value of collective climate action at the local scale
  • Capacity-building skills gained in understanding local climate impacts and how to engage others: several groups designed and implemented innovative events and workshops, using visual learning tools like mapping and visualizing solutions to stimulate & record residents’ ideas.
  • Bonding with neighbours and community through fun, social, hands-on activities
  • Increased agency and motivation to make changes and collaborate with the Oak Bay District on climate issues/solutions addressing both private and public land.
  • Champions acquired improved insights on other residents’ perceptions (pros and cons) of climate action.
What we heard from participants
  • Enthusiasm for the Coolkit Champion program and collectively developing local climate action plans
  • Strong support and advice from existing community organizations., eg, the Community Association of Oak Bay