The RDN is penning a letter to Premier John Horgan and submitting a resolution to the Union of BC Municipalities calling on the province to replace the abruptly cancelled Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) with a new funding model next year.
To the surprise of local governments, the province announced in May that 2021 would be the last year CARIP would be in place. Through the grant program, local governments that have signed on to the B.C. Climate Action Charter receive 100 per cent of the carbon taxes they pay back.
CARIP funds are used to reduce emissions from corporate operations; the RDN has received over $1 million from the program since 2009, which it has put toward approximately 30 projects, including lighting and heating upgrades, energy assessments and corporate carbon neutral plan development and implementation. While the funds generally don’t cover the full cost of emission reduction projects, they are helpful for leveraging other grant opportunities, a staff report says.
The program closure will result in a reduction of $105,600 a year for the RDN. CARIP funds were to be used to help reach the board’s goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2032, the report says.
Electoral Area B director Vanessa Craig, who also sits on the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities executive, said that a resolution to postpone the program cancellation until local governments were consulted was endorsed by the AVICC membership at their May 28 convention and will also head to UBCM for consideration.
Union of BC Municipalities president Brian Frenkel recently wrote to Josie Osbourne, minister of municipal affairs, saying the program’s elimination “took UBCM and our membership completely by surprise. We had not previously heard any concerns raised by the province about the effectiveness of the program and are still unclear as to the rationale behind this decision.”
During oral questions in the B.C. Legislature on May 17, Osbourne said the NDP government wants to build on its CleanBC plan, noting that $11 million has been set aside in this year’s budget to work with local governments.
“We have the coming year to talk to local governments about other ways and additional ways to support them in the climate action charter, including the creation of compact, complete communities,” Osbourne said.
Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder