City staff warns carbon neutrality could cost Trail

Climate action plan takes time and money to implement

A provincial program aimed at creating a carbon neutral municipalities could end up costing Trail in the future, a City of Trail staff report has warned.

In its Governance and Operations Committee report to city council March 11, city staff warned that the entire cost of the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program Public Report (CARIP) will incur a significant amount of city personnel time and resources as time goes on.

In order to keep complying and supporting the program the city would eventually have costs over and above the carbon grant—tax back from the province paid on utility bills—and buying carbon offsets, the report noted.

In 2012 the city was able to create a slight residual after buying carbon offsets at a reduced rate through the Carbon Neutral Kootenay (CNK) Consortium—a Kootenay-wide partnership of municipalities and regional districts.

But other B.C. Communities who signed on to the province’s Climate Action Charter weren’t so fortunate in purchasing cheap carbon offsets.

“It is really unclear what the net gains are at this time and many are questioning the real value based on how this program has been set-up; especially for some public organizations that currently have to pay significantly for offsets at the expense of programs and services,” city chief administrative officer David Perehudoff said in his report.

“Carbon neutrality from the perspective of being purely carbon neutral is impossible, so that’s where the carbon offsets come in.”

The city was very fortunate this year that CNK worked a “favourable offset agreement,” said Perehudoff. But he did not know if the agreement would occur in the long-term meaning, ultimately, there could be a cost to the city going forward.

The city spent $30,487 on carbon taxes in 2012 and the carbon tax refund was slightly more.

If the city had to purchase the offsets through the Pacific Carbon Trust, the offset cost would have been $31,850 and have left the city in a slight deficit position.

“It’s a concern for us, not only in the context of what we paid today, but obviously in the future if that number as far as the carbon offset goes, goes up,” said Perehudoff.

Although the intent of the program—to get municipalities and regional districts to reduce how much carbon (fossil fuel) they produce—is sound, the goal of attaining carbon neutrality for a city is not, said councillor Gord DeRosa, and that price may eventually be too high to pay.

“I think the provincial government has dropped the file here,” he said. “There has not been a lot said and directed and I don’t think it was thought out as thorough as it might have been.”

He felt the province was in the process of re-examining the program to see if it could be delivered better.

Meanwhile, the Silver City staff are doing what they can with what they have, said DeRosa, the councillor in charge of the Public Works portfolio. The city has not identified projects that are going to reduce its carbon footprint immediately, he explained.

“Rather, we adopted a philosophy that when things needed to be repaired or replaced we would do it with the most energy efficient technology available,” he said. “When the need comes we will find the funds to replace or repair or adjust to adopt a carbon reduction gain.”

The city has taken a slow approach to adopting and achieving its goal and it is working for them, with a 30 per cent reduction in power usage with recent HVAC upgrade at the Trail Aquatic Centre.

The program and the overall economic strain on the city versus the real gains in terms of the program design, the cost to deliver, and the real benefits should be measured, said Perehudoff in his report.

“Council may want to ask that the province provide such accounting,” he said. “Each public body is spending significantly to comply and the provincial bureaucracy established to administer the program must be very significant.”

Mayor Dieter Bogs agreed. Right now the CARIP program seems to be a bureaucratic book keeping event.

“Eventually it will change. I’m sure the government didn’t set that up to have a bureaucratic book keeping event,” he said.

The city submitted its 2012 CARIP report to the province along with its 2012 carbon consumption calculations using the SmartTool, as well as the grant application based on the city’s carbon tax paid.

In short, the city produced 1,274 tonnes of carbon in 2012, including 92 tonnes from third party contracted services.

As a result, the city will purchase $20,000 in carbon offsets from the Darkwoods project council approved of earlier this year.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Author John Vaillant joins Lisa Moore and Fred Wah for Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s Alumni Reading on Friday, July 9. All three authors were featured at the inaugural festival in 2012. Photo: Submitted
FESTIVAL TALES: When 2012 meets 2021

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will include authors from the event’s inaugural year

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read