Local climate action plans given grants on Earth Day

This year's to-do list includes the construction start of the walking bridge and a tree maintenance program.

Recycling programs, green spaces, sustainability planning and parklands are local initiatives that brought over $200,000 of provincial funds into the region last week under the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP).

The conditional grants, announced on Earth Day (April 22), require local governments to report annual progress in projects that set the stage for reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

The funding targets communities that have signed a Climate Action Charter and publicly report their ongoing development toward meeting climate action goals.

Installing motion sensors, automatic lighting and recycling programs in all municipal buildings had the City of Trail receiving about $31,000 from the program.

Other 2014 actions included a thermal energy audit of the Trail Memorial Centre, growing vegetables with the incrEDIBLE trail, an anti-idling policy and the use of recycled asphalt.

The grant doesn’t cover actual costs related to the city’s climate action goals but it does ensure Trail remains focused and understands the associated implications of its operations by reviewing outputs each year as compared to the 2020 target.

“The city initially became involved as part of securing the annual grant funding and to ensure that necessary direction was being taken to become compliant with the goals being established by the province,” said David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief adminstrative officer (CAO).

“While the city will never be carbon neutral based on its operations we will continue to work to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in the spirt of the charter and what it is attempting to achieve.”

This year’s to-do list incorporates the construction start of the walking bridge, continued work of a solid waste management plan and a tree maintenance program.

Rossland was given the nod with an $11,500 CARIP grant, as the city moves to implement its Communities Adapting to Climate Change Plan through development of a new subdivision and servicing bylaw.

Ongoing actions include funding the Sustainability Commission, evaluating air circulation and venting in city hall, a Water Smart Action Plan and proposed construction of a wetland in Jubilee Park.

It may seem like only a drop in the bucket, but Montrose’s $2,000 annual grant assists the village to complete activities and goals as part of an ongoing GHG reduction action plan.

Fixing leaking windows in the municipal office, and improvements in water metering were 2014 actions alongside the ongoing development of an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan.

Fruitvale adopted a Carbon Neutral Action Plan four years ago, signing on as a participant of the Carbon Neutral Kootenays Project spearheaded by the three regional districts in the Kootenays, explained Fruitvale CAO Lila Cresswell.

Additionally, the village has policies and objectives regarding Climate Action in its Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw.

Fruitvale’s $3,000 grant furthers the development of an asset management plan and policy to ensure environmental sustainability, reduction of solid waste pickups due to enhanced recycling services, and walking path additions.

West Kootenay CARIP grants also went to Castlegar, $18,400, Nelson, $35,500, and the regional districts (combined) about $100,000.

According to Mary Polak, Minister of Environment, local governments have influence over about 40 per cent of B.C.’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

“The province works closely with them as many of the decisions that result in the biggest GHG emissions reductions come from the leadership of our cities and communities,” said Polak April 22. “Now, as B.C. embarks on developing Climate Action Plan 2.0 we look forward to hearing from communities on how we can make our climate collaboration with them even better.”